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The Holy Bible
The King James Version

Old Testament


1 Samuel
1st Book of Kings
2 Samuel
2nd Book of Kings
First Kings
3rd Book of Kings
Second Kings
4th Book of Kings
1st Chronicles
2nd Chronicles


Song of Solomon





New Testament




First Corinthians
Second Corinthians
First Thessalonians
Second Thessalonians
First Timothy
Second Timothy


First Peter
Second Peter
First John
Second John
Third John











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Bible Terminology  

All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version,
Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.


10 Commandments   See ten Commandments


[A] [B] [C] [D] [E] [F] [G] [H] [I] [J] [K] [L] [M] [N]

[O] [P] [Q] [R] [S] [T] [U] [V] [W] [X] [Y] [Z]



Aaron  See Aaron Here in Names in The Bible

Aaronites  the descendants of Aaron, and therefore priests

Males descended from Aaron, the brother of Moses. According to the Pentateuch, only male descendents of Aaron were entitled to the status of kehunah, i.e., members of the Jewish ritual priesthood.

Jehoiada, the father of Benaiah, led 3,700 Aaronites as "fighting men" to the support of David at Hebron (1 Chr. 12:27). Eleazar (Num. 3:32), and at a later period Zadok (1 Chr. 27:17), was their chief.

Aaron's Rod   a rod mentioned on two dramatic occasions in the Old Testament. When Moses and Aaron appeared before Pharaoh, Aaron cast down his rod and it became a serpent. When the magicians of Egypt did the same thing, “Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods” (Ex. 7:12). Later, Aaron struck the waters of Egypt with his rod and they turned to blood (7:15–20).

During the wilderness wandering, Aaron's rod was the only staff that produced buds, blossoms, and almonds, indicating God's choice of Aaron and his descendants as priests (Num. 17:1–10).

Abaddon  also "abaddown" and "abaddoh." Abaddon is Hebrew for destruction.

Abaddon is the Hebrew name (equivalent to the Greek Apollyon, i.e., destroyer) of "the angel of the bottomless pit" (Rev. 9:11).

The name "Abaddon" appears only once in the King James Bible, NKJV and NIV, but seven times in the NRSV.

"Abaddown" is translated "destruction" in Job 28:22; 31:12; 26:6; Prov. 15:11; 27:20. In all of these passages the NRSV simply uses the word "Abaddon." This word can be thought of as a personification of the idea of destruction, or as sheol, the realm of the dead.

Abagtha  one of the seven eunuchs in Ahasuerus's court (Esther 1:10; 2:21).

Abana  Meaning: stony (Hebrew: Abanah).

This was the name of the main river of Damascus (2 Kings 5:12). Its modern name is Barada, the Chrysorrhoas, or "golden stream," of the Greeks. It rises in a canyon of the Anti-Lebanon range, about 23 miles northwest of Damascus, and after flowing southward for a little way parts into three smaller streams, the central one flowing through Damascus, and the other two on each side of the city, diffusing beauty and fertility where otherwise there would be barrenness.

Abarim  Meaning: regions beyond; i.e., on the east of Jordan, a mountain, or rather a mountain-chain, near Jericho, to the east and southeast of the Dead Sea, in the land of Moab.

From "the top of Pisgah", i.e., Mount Nebo (q.v.), one of its summits, Moses surveyed the Promised Land (Deut. 3:27; 32:49), and there he died (34:1,5). The Israelites had one of their encampments in the mountains of Abarim (Num. 33:47-48) after crossing the Arnon.

Abase An old English word meaning to humble; humiliate; to make or bring low

Abate / Abated  to make in less amount; reduction of intensity, force, degree, etc.

Abba  Abba is a Chaldee word for father, used in a respectful, affectionate, and familiar way, like papa, dad, or daddy. Often used in prayer to refer to our Father in Heaven.

This Syriac or Chaldee word is found three times in the New Testament (Mark 14:36; Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6), and in each case is followed by its Greek equivalent, which is translated "father." It is a term expressing warm affection and confidence. It has no perfect equivalent in our language. It has passed into European languages as an ecclesiastical term, "abbot."

Abda  Meaning: servant, worshiper.

This was the name of two biblical men:

1. The father of Adoniram, who Solomon put in charge of the tribute (1 Kings 4:6); i.e., the forced labor.

2. A Levite of the family of Jeduthun (Neh. 11:17), also called Obadiah (1 Chr. 9:16).

Abdeel  See Abdeel Here in Names in The Bible

abhor  to hate with great contempt, detest, spurn.

abhorrest  see abhor above.

Abia, course of  -  Zechariah (KJV spells his name: Zacharias) the priest, father of John the Baptist was a member of the "course of Abia." Actually Abia is a KJV version of Abijah. All priests in the tribe of Levi were assigned to a "course." This is something like a platoon or a squadron in the military. It is a grouping of priests who always work together. Because there was only one Temple, but thousands of priests the priests were rotated from one course of priests to the next course of priests. In New Testament times there were so many priests that a priest was fortunate to get to do what Zechariah did once or twice in a lifetime. See Luke 1:5,9.

Abilene  located North East of Mount Hermon and West of Damascus. It was a district under a tetrarch. See Lysanias.

Abimael  See Abimael Here in Names in The Bible

abomination(s)  detestable, that which is horribly hated, horrible in the sight of God.

abounded  overflowed with plenty, above and beyond all expectation.

"abusers of themselves with mankind"  the KJV uses this five word phrase to translate a single word in the Greek. That word means "sodomites," or homosexuals. 1st Corinthians 6:9 is where this is found.

Abraham  See Abraham Here in Names in The Bible

Accad   (also spelt Akkad and Agade)  Accad became prominent when king Sargon (c. 2400BC) overcame the Sumerians (non-Semites who had moved into the Mesopotamian region and who developed the first urban civilization there). Sargon and his descendants built up an empire which enveloped the region, but only lasted four generations. It ensured however that the Akkadian language became dominant in Mesopotamia.

Achaia  the Roman province that was made up of almost all of ancient Greece south of another province called Macedonia. If you look at a map of modern Greece, Achaia was located on the very Southern portion of modern Greece that is almost an island but for a tiny finger of land that bridges back to the larger land body.

Achaia was a region of Greece on the north coast of the Peloponnesus. The topography of Achaia was filled with mountains and therefore was difficult to travel through and this was one of the reasons why ancient Greece was difficult to unify.

The geography of Greece forced most of the population to dwell in the beautiful sea ports and thus spread their culture throughout the Mediterranean. Achaia was a Roman Province in New Testament times. Paul spent much time there and expressed his love toward the churches in Achaia, and commended them for their liberal giving.   

2 Corinthians 1:1 - Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy [our] brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia:

Achor  The valley where Achan and his family were executed for stealing loot that was dedicated for destruction in Jericho. And so Achor means trouble, or Valley of Trouble. Achan got into deadly trouble by stealing forbidden things. His sin brought a curse on the whole Nation causing the deaths of many. They had to cleanse him and his family out of the Nation.

Acts of the Apostles Sometimes called the fifth Gospel. Thought to have been composed by Luke, a physician and friend of Paul (Saul of Tarsus).

AD  Anno Domini, "year of our Lord"; indicates that a time division falls within the Christian era; same as CE.

Adam   See Adam Here in Names in The Bible

Adam and Eve  See Adam and Eve Here in Names in The Bible

Adbeel  See Adbeel Here in Names in The Bible

Adonai   See Adonai Here in Names in The Bible

Adoniram   See Adoniram Here in Names in The Bible

Adullam   a Canaanite town 27 miles due East, airline, from the coastal town of Ashkelon (Ascalon) and 25 miles due West of the shore of the Dead Sea. In other words about halfway between the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. **Not far from the town is thought to be the location of a cave, by the same name, that David used as a hideout and headquarters when King Saul was seeking to take his life. The Hebrew word for Adullam means "refuge," "retreat."

adultery  Adultery is having sexual intercourse with someone besides your own husband or wife. In the Bible, the only legitimate sexual intercourse is between a man and a woman who are married to each other.

Jesus clarifies the definition even more. HE says that "adultery" is committed when a person simply looks longingly upon another person even though they never do anything beyond the mental exercise of longing!! Spiritually adultery is when a person turns away from the true God to worship an idol or to elevate something else as god.

adjure  to command on oath before God.

Adramyttium  a harbor in Mysia in the Northwestern corner of what is now Turkey, minus that part of Turkey that is on the Northwest side of the passage to the Black Sea. This was part of what was then called the Roman province of Asia.

Adria  the sea that is between Italy and Greece, but also that is South of both countries.

Aenon  a location near the Jordan river, not terribly far from Jericho. Different experts have suggested different locations. This place is mentioned in John's Gospel as a locale where John the Baptist ministered.

Ahab  See Ahab Here in Names in The Bible

Ahaz  See Ahaz Here in Names in The Bible

Ai  this was a city in the Jewish tribal area of Ephraim. It was located just about two miles, a bit South of true East of the spot named Bethel, where Jacob had his dream of the ladder into Heaven. Ai was a city that first defeated the invading Israelites because Achan had secretly kept forbidden loot from the defeat of Jericho. And this brought a curse upon Israel's armies and the death of many soldiers. After Achan was executed Joshua destroyed Ai. Later Aiath and and Aija were built very close to the spot Ai had been built on. And so Aiath and Aija are approximately on the same spot.

Aiath  See Ai above.

Aija  See Ai above

Alexandria  was the capital city of Egypt during the Greek and Roman eras. It was located on the coast at the western side of the Nile river delta. During the Roman period it was second only to Rome itself in World importance. It was a noted center of knowledge with one of the Worlds most complete libraries of the time.

Alexandrians  generally citizens of the city of Alexandria in Egypt. However in Acts 6:9 it is referring to Jews of the Diaspora or dispersion who live or are from Alexandria and visit or have returned to Jerusalem.

Allah   See Allah Here in Names in The Bible

alms  anything given to relieve the plight of the poor and their suffering such as money, food and clothes.

almsdeeds  You can find this word in Acts 9:36. Almsdeeds are acts of generosity to the poor. See Alms

A (alpha)  alpha, the first letter of the Greek alphabet (Omega is the last letter of the Greek alphabet.)

These letters occur in the text of Rev. 1:8,11; 21:6; 22:13, and are represented by "Alpha" and "Omega" respectively

(omitted in the Revised Version, New International Version, and the New Revised Standard Version 1:11). They mean "the first and last.".

In the symbols of the early Christian Church, these two letters are frequently combined with the cross or with Christ's monogram to indicate his divinity.

altar  Altars are places where sacrifices were offered. There were two or three different sorts. The large constructions found outside some temple buildings may be better classified as "high places" than as altars. Inside the building were both largish rectangular altars made of plastered stone or mud brick, and smaller stone "pillars", called horned altars, whose flat tops curved up at the corners.

Amalek   See Amalek Here in Names in The Bible

Amalekites  See Amalek Here in Names in The Bible

Amarna letters  The Amarna letters (sometimes "Amarna correspondence" or "Amarna tablets") are an archive of correspondence on clay tablets, mostly diplomatic, between the Egyptian administration and its representatives in Canaan and Amurru during the New Kingdom. The letters were found in Upper Egypt at Amarna, the modern name for the Egyptian capital founded by pharaoh Akhenaten (1350s - 1330s BC) during the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt. The Amarna letters are unusual in Egyptological research, being mostly written in Akkadian cuneiform, the writing system of ancient Mesopotamia rather than ancient Egypt. The known tablets currently total 382 in number, 24 further tablets having been recovered since the Norwegian Assyriologist Jørgen Alexander Knudtzon's landmark edition of the Amarna correspondence, Die El-Amarna-Tafeln in two volumes (1907 and 1915).

Amarna Tablets  See Amarna Letters

amen  this word originated in Hebrew and has spread to most all languages.  Amen means "truly", "so be it" or "it is certainly so."

We know it as the final word spoken in a prayer.

American Standard Version  The Revised Version, Standard American Edition of the Bible, more commonly known as the American Standard Version (ASV), is a version of the Bible that was released in 1901. It was originally best known by its full name, but soon came to have other names, such as the American Revised Version, the American Standard Revision, the American Standard Revised Bible, and the American Standard Edition. By the time its copyright was renewed in 1929, it had come to be known at last by its present name, the American Standard Version. Because of its prominence in seminaries, however, it was sometimes simply called the "Standard Bible".

Amorite   refers to a Semitic people who occupied the country west of the Euphrates from the second half of the third millennium BC. The term Amurru refers to them, as well as to their principal deity.

Amurru  See Amurru Here in Names in The Bible

Amurru's Wife  See Amurru's Wife Here in Names in The Bible

An See An Here in Names in The Bible

angel  "Angel" literally means "messenger" or "envoy," and is usually used to refer to spiritual beings who normally are invisible to us, but can also appear as exceedingly strong creatures or as humans.

Antediluvian  (or pre-diluvian - both meaning "before the deluge")

The antediluvian period is that period in the biblical history between the Creation of the earth and the Deluge. The story takes up chapters 1-6 (excluding the Flood narrative) of Genesis.

Anu  See An

apocalyptic   Literature, and associated beliefs, revealing the future, particularly the "End of Days" as revealed in visions, dreams and interpretations; often revealed by angels. See also eschatology.

Apocrypha  Books by authors written between 150 BCE and 100 CE, included in the Septuagint and Vulgate, but excluded from Jewish and Protestant canons of the Old Testament. For Catholics the word has a much broader meaning to include all extra biblical books not included in the canon during the Constantine reformation of the Christian texts.

Apollyon  Apollyon is Greek for destroyer.

apostle  "Apostle" means a delegate, messenger, or one sent forth with orders. This term is applied in the New Testament in both a general sense connected with a ministry of establishing and strengthening church fellowships, as well as in a specific sense to "The 12 Apostles of the Lamb" (Revelation 21:14). The former category applies to a specific ministry that continues in the Church (Ephesians 4:11-13) and which includes many more than 12 people, while the latter refers to the apostles named in Matthew 10:2-4, except with Judas Iscariot replaced by Matthias (Acts 1:26).

Apostles Creed
Apostles' Creed

The Apostles' Creed, sometimes titled Symbol of the Apostles, is an early statement of Christian belief, a creed or "symbol". It is widely used by a number of Christian denominations for both liturgical and catechetical purposes, most visibly by liturgical Churches of Western tradition, including the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church, Lutheranism, the Anglican Communion, and Western Orthodoxy. It is also used by Presbyterians, Methodists, and Congregationalists.

The theological specifics of this creed appear to have been originally formulated as a refutation of Gnosticism, an early heresy. This can be seen in almost every phrase. For example, the creed states that Christ, Jesus, was born, suffered, and died on the cross. This seems to be a statement directly against the heretical teaching that Christ only appeared to become man and that he did not truly suffer and die but only appeared to do so. The Apostles' Creed, as well as other baptismal creeds, is esteemed as an example of the apostles' teachings and a defense of the Gospel of Christ.

The name of the Creed comes from the probably fifth-century legend that, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit after Pentecost, each of the Twelve Apostles dictated part of it. It is traditionally divided into twelve articles.

Because of its early origin, it does not address some Christological issues defined in the later Nicene and other Christian Creeds. It thus says nothing explicitly about the divinity of either Jesus or of the Holy Spirit. This makes it acceptable to many Arians and Unitarians. Nor does it address many other theological questions that became objects of dispute centuries later.


1. A member of a Semitic people inhabiting Arabia, whose language and Islamic religion spread widely throughout the Middle East and northern Africa from the seventh century.

2. A member of an Arabic-speaking people.

Arab Christians  Christianity in the Arab world traces its history back to the first century. Prior to the Muslim Arab conquest in the 7th century, much of the Middle East was part of the Christian Byzantine Empire. Even after the advent of Islam, some Christian populations did not become Muslim converts, thus by remaining Christians they maintained their religious identity through to the present day. Some Christian sects that were persecuted as heretical under the Byzantine rule enjoyed greater freedom under their Muslim rulers. Whether the Christians in the Middle East are considered Arab depends on what aspects of the word Arab one wishes to emphasize (political, linguistic, ethnic). (See Arab). For example, some Lebanese Maronites go so far as to emphasize Lebanon's link to the ancient Phoenicians and to limit the label Arab to people living in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states.

Like Arab Muslims, Arab Christians and Arab Jews for that matter, refer to God as Allah. The use of the term Allah in Arab Christian churches predates its use in Islam by several centuries. In more recent times (especially since the mid 1800's), Arabs from the Levant region have been converted from these churches to Protestant ones, most notably Baptist and Methodist churches. This is mostly due to an influx of Western, predominantly American, missionaries.

Large numbers of Arab Christians can be found in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Israel and especially the United States. The largest population is found in Egypt, numbering several million. Lebanon contains the highest proportion; it is believed to be about 39% Christian (mainly Maronite, with sizable numbers of Greek Orthodox, Syrian Catholic and other churches). In Syria, Christians form just under 15% of the population. About 6% of all Palestinians are Christian. Some of the Palestinian Christians were converted by American or European missionaries during the colonial period. (see Palestinian Christians). There are significant Christian populations in Iraq (including Assyrian and Chaldean Christians) and Syria (see Jacobite Orthodox Church). Another major group of Arab Christians are the Copts, including some six million Arab-speaking people in Egypt and hundreds of thousands more abroad. This church has historically been seen by Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches as heretical, although in recent years there have been considerable strides to reconciliation with the Eastern Orthodox communion. There are tiny communities of Roman Catholics in Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. Most of the members in North Africa however, are foreign missionaries or workers or converted Arabs.

Arabic  in terms of the number of speakers, is the largest living member of the Semitic language family. In ISO 639-3, modern Arabic is classified as a macrolanguage with 27 sub-languages. These varieties are spoken throughout the Arab world, and Standard Arabic is widely studied and used throughout the Islamic world.

Modern Standard Arabic derives from Classical Arabic, the only surviving member of the Old North Arabian dialect group, attested in Pre-Islamic Arabic inscriptions dating back to the 4th century. Classical Arabic has also been a literary language and the liturgical language of Islam since its inception in the 7th century.

Arabic has lent many words to other languages of the Islamic world. During the Middle Ages, Arabic was a major vehicle of culture in Europe, especially in science, mathematics and philosophy. As a result, many European languages have also borrowed numerous words from it. Arabic influence is seen in Mediterranean languages, particularly Spanish, Portuguese, and Sicilian, due to both the proximity of European and Arab civilization and 700 years of Berber and Arab rule in the Iberian peninsula (see Al-Andalus).

Arabic has also borrowed words from many languages, including Greek, Persian and Sanskrit in early centuries, and contemporary European languages in modern times.

Aramaic   A northwest Semitic language known since before the tenth century BCE until the rise of Islam; still used today in some places in the Near East; official language of the Persian empire; used extensively in southwest Asia and by the Jews after the Babylonian exile; the cursive script replaced the ancient paleo-Hebrew script for secular writing as well as for holy scriptures. One of the languages most widely used by the Jews at the time the scrolls were written or transcribed or translated.


1. A chest, or coffer.
Bearing that precious relic in an ark. 

2. (Jewish Hist.) The oblong chest of acacia wood, overlaid with gold, which supported the mercy seat with its golden cherubs, and occupied the most sacred place in the sanctuary. In it Moses placed the two tables of stone containing the ten commandments.
See Ark of the Covenant.

3. The large, chestlike vessel in which Noah and his family were preserved during the Deluge. --Gen. 6.    See Noah's Ark

4. A large flatboat used on Western American rivers to transport produce to market.

Ark of the Covenant  Israel's most potent symbol of God's presence and commitment to them. It is also called "ark of witness", "ark of Adonai's covenant", "ark of the lord Adonai", "ark of Adonai", "ark of God's covenant", "ark of God".

There are detailed descriptions of this gold plated acacia wood box. 2.5x1.5x1.5 cubits (130x78x78cms or 34x20x20 inches). It had two poles (also gold plated) so it could be carried, and had two cherubs as part of the lid.

The Ark of the Covenant is described in the Bible as a sacred container, wherein rested the Tablets of stone containing the Ten Commandments as well as Aaron's rod and manna. According to the Biblical account, the Ark was built at the command of God, in accord with Moses' prophetic vision on Mount Sinai (Exodus 25:9-10). God communicated with Moses "from between the two cherubim" on the Ark's cover (Exodus 25:22). The Ark and its sanctuary were "the beauty of Israel" (Lamentations 2:1). Rashi and some Midrashim suggest that there were two arks - a temporary one made by Moses, and a later one made by Bezalel.

The Biblical account relates that during the trip of the Israelites, the Ark was carried by the priests ~2,000 cubits (Numbers 35:5; Joshua 4:5) in advance of the people and their army or host (Num. 4:5-6; 10:33-36; Psalms 68:1; 132:8). When the Ark was borne by priests into the bed of the Jordan, the river was separated, opening a pathway for the whole of the host to pass over (Josh. 3:15-16; 4:7-18). The Ark was borne in a seven-day procession around the wall of Jericho by seven priests sounding seven trumpets of rams' horns, the city taken with a shout (Josh. 6:4-20). When carried, the Ark was always wrapped in a veil, in tachash skins (the identity of this animal is uncertain), and a blue cloth, and was carefully concealed, even from the eyes of the Levites who carried it.

Armageddon  See Har-magedon.

Augustine of Hippo   See Augustine of Hippo Here in Names in The Bible

assarion  An assarion is a small Roman copper coin worth one tenth of a drachma, or about an hour's wages for an agricultural laborer.

ASV  American Standard Version of The Bible

aureus  An aureus is a Roman gold coin, worth 25 silver denarii. An aureus weighed from 115 to 126.3 grains (7.45 to 8.18 grams).


Babylon  Babylon was a city-state of ancient Mesopotamia (which was sometimes considered an Empire) , the remains of which can be found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers (55 mi) south of Baghdad.

All that remains today of the ancient famed city of Babylon is a mound, or tell, of broken mud-brick buildings and debris in the fertile Mesopotamian plain between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, in Iraq. Historical resources inform us that Babylon was at first a small town, that had sprung up by the beginning of the third millennium BC (the dawn of the dynasties). The town flourished and attained prominence and political repute with the rise of the first Babylonian dynasty. It was the "holy city" of Babylonia by approximately 2300 BC, and the seat of the Neo-Babylonian Empire from 612 BC. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

The form Babylon is the Greek variant of Akkadian Babilu (bab-ilû, meaning "Gateway of the god(s)", translating Sumerian Ka.dingir.ra). In the Bible, the name appears as, interpreted by Book of Genesis 11:9 to mean "confusion" (of languages), from the verb balbal, "to confuse".

Babylonia  Babylonia was an Amorite state in Lower Mesopotamia (modern southern Iraq), with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged when Hammurabi (fl. ca. 1728 - 1686 BC, short chronology) created an empire out of the territories of the former kingdoms of Sumer and Akkad. The Amorites being a Semitic people, Babylonia adopted the written Semitic Akkadian language for official use, and retained the Sumerian language for religious use, which by that time was no longer a spoken language. The Akkadian and Sumerian cultures played a major role in later Babylonian culture, and the region would remain an important cultural center, even under outside rule.

The earliest mention of the city of Babylon can be found in a tablet from the reign of Sargon of Akkad, dating back to the 23rd century BC.

Following the collapse of the last Sumerian "Ur-III" dynasty at the hands of the Elamites (ca. 1940 (short)), the Amorites gained control over most of Mesopotamia, where they formed a series of small kingdoms. During the first centuries of what is called the "Amorite period", the most powerful city states were Isin and Larsa, although Shamshi-Adad I came close to uniting the more northern regions around Assur and Mari. One of these Amorite dynasties was established in the city-state of Babylon, which would ultimately take over the others and form the first Babylonian empire, during what is also called the Old Babylonian Period.

Babylonian captivity  in the history of Israel, the period from the fall of Jerusalem (586 B.C.) to the reconstruction in Palestine of a new Jewish state (after 538 B.C.). After the capture of the city by the Babylonians some thousands, probably selected for their prosperity and importance, were deported to Mesopotamia. The number of those who remained is disputed by scholars. Such deportations were commonplace in Assyrian and Babylonian policy. The exiles maintained close links with their kinsmen at home, as is clear from Ezekiel, the prophet of the early years of the Exile. In 538 B.C., Cyrus the Great, the new master of the empire, initiated a new attitude toward the nations and decreed the restoration of worship at Jerusalem. The century following this decree was critical in the history of the Jews, for it is the time of their reintegration into a national and religious unit. For parts of the period, Ezra and Nehemiah are the best sources. The prophesied 70 years of captivity were fulfilled when the new Temple was completed in 516 B.C. For the papal captivity at Avignon, which is also called the Babylonian Captivity

The Babylonian Captivity and the subsequent return to Israel were seen as one of the pivotal events in the drama between God and His people: Israel. Just as they had been predestined for, and saved from, slavery in Egypt, the Israelites were predestined to be punished by God through the Babylonians, and then saved once more. The Babylonian Captivity had a number of serious effects on Judaism and the Jewish culture, including changes to the Hebrew alphabet and changes in the fundamental practices and customs of the Jewish religion.

This period saw the last high-point of Biblical prophecy in the person of Ezekiel, followed by the emergence of the central role of the Torah in Jewish life. This process coincided with the emergence of scribes and sages as Jewish leaders (see Ezra and the Pharisees).

Prior to exile, the people of Israel had been organized according to tribe; afterwards, they were organized by clans, with only the tribe of Levi continuing in its special role. After the Babylonian captivity, there were always sizable numbers of Jews living outside Eretz Israel, thus marking one starting point of the "Jewish diaspora.

Baptism   In Christianity, baptism (a word derived from Greek baptizo: "immersing", "performing ablutions") is the ritual act, with the use of water, by which one is admitted as a full member of the Christian Church and, in the view of some, as a member of the particular Church in which the baptism is administered.

Some Christians, particularly Quakers and the Salvation Army, do not see baptism as necessary. Among those that do, differences can be found in the manner of baptizing and in the understanding of the significance of the rite. Most baptize "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit", but some baptize in Jesus' name only. Most baptize infants, others do not. Some insist on submersion or at least partial immersion of the person who is baptized, others consider that any form of washing by water is sufficient.

The most usual form of baptism among Early Christians was for the candidate to stand in water and water to be poured over the upper body. Other common forms of baptism now in use include pouring water three times on the forehead or complete submersion in water.

Baptism has traditionally been seen as necessary for salvation. Martyrdom was identified early in church history as baptism by blood, enabling martyrs who had not been baptized by water to be saved. Later, the Catholic church identified a baptism of desire, by which those preparing for baptism who die before actually receiving the sacrament are considered saved.

The English word "baptism" has been used in reference to any ceremony, trial, or experience by which one is initiated, purified, or given a name.

baptize  See Baptism

Baptize means to immerse in, or wash with something, usually water. Baptism in the Holy Spirit, fire, the Body of Christ, and suffering are also mentioned in the New Testament, along with baptism in water. Baptism is not just to cleanse the body, but as an outward sign of an inward spiritual cleansing and commitment. Baptism is a sign of repentance, as practiced by John the Baptizer, and of faith in Jesus Christ, as practiced by Jesus' disciples.

bath   bath is a liquid measure of about 22 liters, 5.8 U. S. gallons, or 4.8 imperial gallons.

batos  A batos is a liquid measure of about 39.5 liters, 10.4 U. S. gallons, or 8.7 imperial gallons.

BC   Before Christ; indicates that a time division that falls before the Christian era; same as BCE.

Beelzebul  literally, lord of the flies. A name used for the devil.

Beersheba  Beersheba is Hebrew for "well of the oath" or "well of the seven."
The largest city in the Negev desert of southern Israel. Often referred to as the "Capital of the Negev", it is the seventh-largest city in Israel, located in the Southern District of the country.

behold  Look! See! Wow! Notice this! Lo!

Belial   Satan.

Bereishit  Bereishit is a Hebrew word, which is the first word of the Torah (the first five books of the Tanach, or Hebrew Bible). It may be translated as the phrase "In the beginning of".

Bereishit may refer to:

  • The Hebrew title of the biblical Book of Genesis

  • Bereishit (parsha), the first weekly parsha in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah readings

Bereishit, Bereshit, Bereishis, B'reshith, Beresheet, or Bereshees
 (Hebrew for "in beginning," the first word in the parshah) is the first weekly Torah portion (parshah) in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading. Jews in the Diaspora read it the first Sabbath after Simchat Torah, generally in October. Jews also read the beginning part of the parshah, Genesis 1:1-2:3, as the second Torah reading for Simchat Torah, after reading the last parts of Deuteronomy, parshah V'Zot HaBerachah, Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12.

The parshah consists of Genesis 1:1-6:8. In the parshah, God creates the world, and Adam and Eve. They commit the first sin, however, and God expels them from the Garden of Eden. One of their sons, Cain, becomes the first murderer by killing his brother Abel out of jealousy. Adam and Eve also have other children, whose descendants populate the Earth, but each generation becomes more and more degenerate until God, despairing, decides to destroy humanity. Only one man, Noah, finds grace in the eyes of God.


1: a town in eastern Pennsylvania on the Lehigh River northwest of Philadelphia; an important center for steel production

2: a small town near Jerusalem on the west bank of the Jordan River; early home of David and regarded as the place where Jesus was born.


Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia  (BHS)

The Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, or BHS, is an edition of the Masoretic Text of the Hebrew Bible as preserved in the Leningrad Codex, and supplemented by masoretic and text-critical notes. It is published by the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft (German Bible Society) in Stuttgart.

BHS is widely regarded (by Christians and Jews alike) as an accurate edition of the Hebrew scriptures, and a useful text-critical tool. It is the most widely used edition among biblical scholars.

For masoretic details, however, Israeli and Jewish scholars have shown a marked preference for alternative editions based upon the Aleppo Codex.

Bible  The Bible is the central religious text of Judaism and Christianity. The exact composition of the Bible is dependent on the religious traditions of specific denominations. Modern Judaism generally recognizes a single set of canonical books known as the Tanakh, or Hebrew or Jewish Bible. It comprises three parts: the Torah ("Teaching", also known as the Pentateuch or "Five Books of Moses"), the Prophets, and the Writings. It was primarily written in Hebrew with some small portions in Aramaic.

The Christian Bible includes the same books as the Tanakh (referred to in this context as the Old Testament), but usually in a different order, together with twenty-seven specifically Christian books collectively known as the New Testament. Those were originally written in Greek. Among some traditions, the Bible includes books that were not accepted in other traditions, often referred to as apocryphal. Eastern Orthodox Churches use all of the books that were incorporated into the Septuagint, to which they add the earliest Greek translation of the Deuterocanonicals; Roman Catholics include seven of these books in their canon; and many Protestant Bibles follow the modern Jewish canon, excluding the additional books. Some editions of the Christian Bible have a separate Biblical apocrypha section for books not considered canonical.

Books of the Bible

Books of the Bible are listed differently in the canons of Jews, and Catholic, Protestant, Greek Orthodox, Slavonic Orthodox, Georgian, Armenian Apostolic, Syriac and Ethiopian Churches, although there is substantial overlap. For a detailed discussion of the differences, see "Biblical canon."

Tanakh or Old Testament

Hebrew Bible
The Torah of Judaism

Christian Bible

Old Testament
    Apocryphal or deuterocanonical books
New Testament
    Original language
     Historic editions
Christian theology


Hebrew Bible
Old and New Testaments
Ethiopian Orthodox canon

Bible versions and translations

English language translations of the Christian Bible Middle English 


16th-17th century 

Tyndale · Coverdale · Matthew · Great Bible · Taverner · Geneva · Bishops' · Douay-Rheims · Authorized King James

18th-19th century 

Challoner · Young's Literal · Revised · Darby · Joseph Smith · Quaker

20th century 

American Standard · Rotherham's Emphasized · Revised Standard · New World · New English Bible · New American Standard · Good News · Jerusalem · New American · Living · New International · New Century · New King James · New Jerusalem · Recovery · New Revised Standard · Revised English · Contemporary English · The Message · Clear Word · Knox · New International Reader's Version · New International Inclusive Language Edition · New Living · International Standard · Holman Christian Standard

21st century 

World English · English Standard · Today's New International · New English Translation · Orthodox Study Bible · 21st Century King James Version


Blessed Virgin Mary  See Blessed Virgin Mary Here in Names in The Bible

Blessed Virgin Mary (Roman Catholic)  See Blessed Virgin Mary Here in Names in The Bible

Boaz   See Boaz Here in Names in The Bible

Boethusians  A Jewish sect that opposed the Pharisees; sometimes identifies as a group of Sadducees. A recent review holds that the Hebrew term bytwsyn, bytysyn, traditionally rendered as "Boethusians," in reality were slightly altered forms of byt 'ysin"House of Essenes."

Book of Acts   Acts of the Apostles  The Acts of the Apostles is a book of the Bible, which now stands fifth in the New Testament. It is commonly referred to as simply Acts. The title "Acts of the Apostles" (Greek, Praxeis Apostolon) was first used by Irenaeus in the late second century, but some have suggested that the title "Acts" be interpreted as "the Acts of the Holy Spirit" or even "the Acts of Jesus," since 1:1 gives the impression that these acts are set forth as an account of what Jesus continued to do and teach, Jesus himself being the principal actor.

Acts tells the story of the Apostolic Age of the Early Christian church, with particular emphasis on the ministry of the Twelve Apostles and of Paul of Tarsus. The early chapters, set in Jerusalem, discuss Jesus' Resurrection, his Ascension, the Day of Pentecost, and the start of the Twelve Apostles' ministry. The later chapters discuss Paul's conversion, his ministry, and finally his arrest and imprisonment and trip to Rome.

It is almost universally agreed that the author of Acts also wrote the Gospel of Luke, see also Luke-Acts. The traditional view is that both books were written c. 60, though most scholars, believing the Gospel to be dependent (at least) on Mark's gospel, view the book(s) as having been written at a later date, sometime between 70 and 100.

'Scholars are about evenly divided on whether [the] attribution to Luke [the companion of Paul] should be accepted as historical.

Book of Esther  The Book of Esther is a book of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) and of the Old Testament. The Book of Esther or the Megillah is the basis for the Jewish celebration of Purim. Its full text is read aloud twice during the celebration, in the evening and again the following morning.

Book of Ezekiel  The Book of Ezekiel is a book of the Hebrew Bible (of the Books of the Bible) named after the prophet Ezekiel.

Book of Genesis  (Greek: "birth", "origin")

Genesis  is the first book of the Bible of Judaism and of Christianity, and the first of five books of the Pentateuch or Torah. It recounts Judeo-Christian beliefs regarding the world from Creation to the descent of the children of Israel into Egypt, and contains some of the best-known stories of the Old Testament, including Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah's Ark, the Tower of Babel, and the biblical Patriarchs.

For Jews the theological importance of Genesis centers on the Covenants linking God to his Chosen People and the people to the Promised Land. Christianity has reinterpreted Genesis as the prefiguration of Christian beliefs, notably the Christian view of Christ as the new Adam and the New Testament as the culmination of the covenants.

Structurally, Genesis consists of what biblical scholars refer to as primeval history (Genesis 1-11) and cycles of Patriarchal stories. The narrative of Joseph stands apart from these. It appears to have reached its final form in the 5th century BC, with a previous history of composition reaching back possibly to the 10th century.

{Book of Genesis}

Book of Isaiah  The Book of Isaiah is a book of the Bible traditionally attributed to the Prophet Isaiah, who lived in the second half of the 8th century BC. In the first 39 chapters, Isaiah prophesies doom for a sinful Judah and for all the nations of the world that oppose God. The last 27 chapters, called "The Book of Comfort," prophesy the restoration of the nation under a divine king. This section includes the Songs of the Suffering Servant.

Book of Jeremiah  The Book of Jeremiah, or Jeremiah, is part of the Hebrew Bible, Judaism's Tanakh, and later became a part of Christianity's Old Testament. It was originally written in a complex and poetic Hebrew (apart from verse 10:11, curiously written in Aramaic), recording the words and events surrounding the life of the Jewish prophet Jeremiah who lived at the time of the destruction of Solomon's Temple (587/6 BC) in Jerusalem during the fall of the Kingdom of Judah at the hands of Babylonia.

Book of Judges (Hebrew: Sefer Shoftim )  Books of Nevi'im 

Book of Judges  is a book of the Bible originally written in Hebrew. It appears in the Tanakh and in the Christian Old Testament. Its title refers to its contents; it contains the history of Biblical judges (not to be confused with modern judges), who helped rule and guide the ancient Israelites, and of their times.

As Judges stands today, the last judge it mentions is Samson, and although there are two further stories, the traditional view is that Samson's exploits probably synchronise with the period immediately preceding Eli, who was both high priest and judge. Both academic views and traditional thought hence view the narrative of the judges as ending at Samson, picking up again at 1 Samuel 1:1 to consider Eli, and continuing through to 1 Samuel 7:2. As for the stories at the end of the Book, which are set in the same time period as the judges but discuss people other than the judges, there is much affinity between these and the Book of Ruth, and many people believe Ruth originally belonged amongst them. There were thirteen Biblical Judges.

Book of Joshua  the sixth book in both the Hebrew Tanakh and the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. This book stands as the first in the Former (or First) Prophets covering the history of Israel from the possession of the Promised Land to the Babylonian Captivity.

Book of Jubilees  sometimes called the Lesser Genesis (Leptogenesis), is an ancient Jewish religious work, considered one of the Pseudepigrapha by most Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox Christians. It was well known to Early Christian writers in the East and the West, as well as by the Rabbis. Later it was so thoroughly suppressed that no complete Hebrew, Greek or Latin version has survived. It is considered canonical for the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, where it is known as the Book of Division (Ge'ez: Mets'hafe Kufale). In the modern scholarly view, it reworks material found in the Biblical books of Genesis and Exodus in the light of concerns of some 2nd century BC Jews.

The Book of Jubilees claims to present "the history of the division of the days of the Law, of the events of the years, the year-weeks, and the jubilees of the world" as secretly revealed to Moses (in addition to the Torah or "Law") by Angels while Moses was on Mount Sinai for forty days and forty nights. The chronology given in Jubilees is based on multiples of seven; the jubilees are periods of 49 years, seven 'year-weeks', into which all of time has been divided. According to the author of Jubilees, all proper customs that mankind should follow are determined by God's decree.

Book of Numbers  (Bamidbar, meaning in the desert)

The Book of Numbers is the fourth book of the Torah, the Tanakh, and the Old Testament. In the Greek Septuagint it is called Arithmoi, or Numbers, because it contains a record of the numbering of the Israelites in the wilderness of Sinai and later on the plain of Moab.

This book may be divided into three parts:

1.The numbering of the people at Sinai, and preparations for resuming their march (1-10:10). The sixth chapter gives an account of the vow of a Nazirite.

2.An account of the journey from Sinai to Moab, the sending out of the spies and the report they brought back, and the murmurings (eight times) of the people at the hardships by the way (10:11-21:20).

3.The transactions in the plain of Moab before crossing the Jordan River (21:21-36).

The period comprehended in the history extends from the second month of the second year after the Exodus to the beginning of the eleventh month of the fortieth year, in all about thirty-eight years and ten months; a dreary period of wanderings. They were fewer in number at the end of their wanderings than when they left the land of Egypt.

According to tradition, Moses authored all five books of the Torah. According to the documentary hypothesis, Numbers, with its dry style and emphasis on censuses, derives from the priestly source, c. 550-400 BC, and was combined with the other three sources to create the Torah c. 400

Books of Chronicles  See Chronicles

Books of Kings  The Books of Kings are a part of Judaism's Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible. They were originally written in Hebrew and were later included by Christianity as part of the Old Testament. According to Biblical chronology, the events in the Books of Kings occurred between the 10th and 6th centuries BC.

The books contain accounts of the kings of the ancient Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah. They contain the annals of the Jewish commonwealth from the accession of Solomon until the subjugation of the kingdom by Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians (apparently a period of about four hundred and fifty-three years). The Books of Kings synchronize with 1 Chronicles 28 - 2 Chronicles 36:21. While in the Chronicles greater prominence is given to the priestly or Levitical office, in the Kings greater prominence is given to the royal and prophetic offices. Kings appears to have been written considerably earlier than Chronicles and as such is generally considered a more reliable historical source.

Books of Samuel  The Books of Samuel are part of the Tanakh (part of Judaism's Hebrew Bible) and also of the Christian Old Testament. The work was originally written in Hebrew, and the Book(s) of Samuel originally formed a single text, as they are often considered today in Hebrew bibles.

Together with what is now referred to as the Book(s) of Kings, the translators who created the Greek Septuagint divided the text into four books, which they named the Books of the Kingdoms. In the Latin Vulgate version, these then became the Books of the Kings, thus 1 and 2 Samuel were referred to as 1 and 2 Kings, with 3 and 4 Kings being what are called 1 and 2 Kings by the King James Bible and its successors.

Book of Ruth  one of the books of the Ketuvim ("Writings") of the Tanakh (the Hebrew Bible) and of the Writings of the Old Testament. It is a rather short book, in both Jewish and Christian scripture, consisting of only four chapters.

Bronze Age  The Bronze Age is, with respect to a given prehistoric society, the period in that society when the most advanced metalworking (at least in systematic and widespread use) included smelting copper and tin from naturally-occurring outcroppings of copper and tin ores, creating a bronze alloy by melting those metals together, and casting them into bronze artifacts. These naturally-occurring ores typically included arsenic as a common impurity. Copper/tin ores are rare, as reflected in the fact that there were no tin bronzes in western Asia before 3000 BC. The Bronze Age is regarded as the second part of a three-age system for prehistoric societies, though there are some cultures that have extensive written records during their Bronze Age. In this system, in some areas of the world the Bronze Age followed the Neolithic age. On the other hand, in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa, the Neolithic age is directly followed by the Iron Age. In some parts of the world, a Copper Age follows the Neolithic Age and precedes the Bronze Age.


Cairo Genizah manuscripts  Contents of the genizah (storage area) of the Palestinian synagogue of the Jews in medieval Fustat (Old Cairo, Egypt). Includes letters, legal documents and literary texts many of which contain dates and datable historical references. See also genizah.

Canaan  Canaan is an ancient term for a region encompassing modern-day Israel and Lebanon, the Arab Palestinian Authority, plus adjoining coastal lands and parts of Jordan, Syria and northeastern Egypt. In the Hebrew Bible, the "Land of Canaan" extends from Lebanon southward across Gaza to the "Brook of Egypt" and eastward to the Jordan River Valley, thus including modern Israel and the area presently ruled by the Arab Palestinian Authority. In far ancient times, the southern area included various ethnic groups. The Amarna Letters found in Ancient Egypt mention Canaan (Akkadian: Kinah(h(u) in connection with Gaza and other cities along the Phoenician coast and into Upper Galilee. Many earlier Egyptian sources also make mention of numerous military campaigns conducted in Ka-na-na, just inside Asia.

Various Canaanite sites have been excavated by archaeologists. Canaanites spoke Canaanite languages, closely related to other West Semitic languages. Canaanites are mentioned in the Bible, Mesopotamian and Ancient Egyptian texts. Although the residents of ancient Ugarit in modern Syria do not seem to have considered themselves Canaanite, and did not speak a Canaanite language (but one that was closely related), archaeologists have considered the site, which was rediscovered in 1928, as quintessentially Canaanite. Much of the modern knowledge about the Canaanites stems from excavation in this area. It is generally thought that they originally migrated from the Arabian Peninsula, as that is the most generally accepted Semitic urheimat. More recently Juris Zarins has suggested that Canaanite culture developed in situ from the Circum Arabian Nomadic Pastoral Complex, which in turn developed from a fusion of Harifian hunter gatherers with PPNB farming cultures, practicing animal domestication, during the 6,200 BC climatic crisis.

canon  A Biblical canon or canon of scripture is a list or set of Biblical books considered to be authoritative as scripture by a particular religious community, generally in Judaism or Christianity. The term itself was first coined by Christians, but the idea is found in Jewish sources. The internal wording of the text can also be specified, for example: the Masoretic Text is the canonical text for Judaism, and the King James Version is the canonical text for the King-James-Only Movement, but this is not the general meaning of canon.

These lists, or canons, have been developed through debate and agreement by the religious authorities of those faiths. Believers consider these canonical books to be inspired by God or to express the authoritative history of the relationship between God and his people. Books excluded from a particular canon are considered non-canonical - however, many disputed books considered non-canonical or even apocryphal by some are considered Biblical apocrypha or Deuterocanonical or fully canonical, by others. There are differences between the Jewish and Christian canons, and between the canons of different Christian denominations. The differing criteria and processes of canonization dictate what the communities regard as the inspired books.

The canons listed below are usually considered closed (i.e., books cannot be added or removed). The closure of the canon reflects a belief that public revelation has ended and thus the inspired texts may be gathered into a complete and authoritative canon. By contrast, an open canon permits the addition of additional books through the process of continuous revelation. In Christian traditions, continuing revelation is most commonly associated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), and with some denominations of Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity.

Canaanite language  The Canaanite languages or Hebraic languages are a subfamily of the Semitic languages, which were spoken by the ancient peoples of the Canaan region, including Canaanites, Israelites, Phoenicians, and Philistines. All of them became extinct as native languages in the early 1st millennium CE, although Hebrew remained in continuous literary and religious use among Jews, and was revived as a spoken, everyday language in the 19th century by Eliezer Ben Yehuda. The Phoenician (and especially Carthaginian) expansion spread their Canaanite language to the Western Mediterranean for a time, but there too it died out, although it seems to have survived slightly longer than in Phoenicia itself.

CE  Common Era; indicates that a time division falls within the Common/Christian era; same as AD.

cherub  A cherub is a kind of angel with wings and hands that is associated with the throne room of God and guardian duty. See Ezekiel 10.

cherubim  Cherubim means more than one cherub or a mighty cherub.

choenix  A choenix is a dry volume measure that is a little more than a liter (which is a little more than a quart). A choenix was the daily ration of grain for a soldier in some armies.

Chrismation  Chrismation is the name given in Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches, as well as in the Assyrian Church of the East, Anglican, and in Lutheran initiation rites, to the Sacrament or Sacred Mystery more commonly known in the West as confirmation, although Italian normally uses cresima (chrismation), rather than confermazione (confirmation).

The term chrismation is used because of the chrism (perfumed holy oil, usually containing myrrh, and consecrated by a bishop) with which the recipient of the sacrament is anointed, while the priest speaks the words sealing the initiate with the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Christ  The Anointed; an appellation given to Jesus, the Savior. It is synonymous with the Hebrew {Messiah}.

a teacher and prophet born in Bethlehem and active in Nazareth; his life and sermons form the basis for Christianity (circa 4 BC - AD 29)

Christian canons   The Biblical canon is the set of books Christians regard as divinely inspired and thus constituting the Christian Bible.

Earliest Christian Communities

Though the early Church used the Old Testament according to the canon of the Septuagint (LXX), the apostles did not otherwise leave a defined set of new scriptures; instead the New Testament developed over time.

The writings attributed to the apostles circulated amongst the earliest Christian communities. The Pauline epistles were circulating in collected form by the end of the first century AD. Justin Martyr, in the early second century, mentions the "memoirs of the apostles," which Christians called "gospels" and which were regarded as on par with the Old Testament.

Apostolic Fathers

A four gospel canon (the Tetramorph) was asserted by Irenaeus, c. 160. By the early 200's, Origen of Alexandria may have been using the same 27 books found in modern New Testament editions, though there were still disputes over the canonicity of Hebrews, James, II Peter, II and III John, and Revelation (see also Antilegomena). Likewise by 200 the Muratorian fragment shows that there existed a set of Christian writings somewhat similar to what is now the New Testament, which included four gospels and argued against objections to them. Thus, while there was a good measure of debate in the Early Church over the New Testament canon, the major writings were accepted by almost all Christians by the middle of the second century.

Geek Fathers

In his Easter letter of 367, Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, gave a list of exactly the same books as what would become the New Testament canon, and he used the word "canonized" (kanonizomena) in regards to them.

Latin Fathers

The African Synod of Hippo, in 393, approved the New Testament, as it stands today, together with the Septuagint books, a decision that was repeated by Councils of Carthage in 397 and 419. These councils were under the authority of St. Augustine, who regarded the canon as already closed. Pope Damasus I's Council of Rome in 382, if the Decretum Gelasianum is correctly associated with it, issued a biblical canon identical to that mentioned above, r if not the list is at least a sixth century compilation. Likewise, Damasus's commissioning of the Latin Vulgate edition of the Bible, c. 383, was instrumental in the fixation of the canon in the West. In 405, Pope Innocent I sent a list of the sacred books to a Gallic bishop, Exsuperius of Toulouse. When these bishops and councils spoke on the matter, however, they were not defining something new, but instead "were ratifying what had already become the mind of the Church." Thus, from the fourth century, there existed unanimity in the West concerning the New Testament canon (as it is today), and by the fifth century the East, with a few exceptions, had come to accept the Book of Revelation and thus had come into harmony on the matter of the canon.

Reformation Period

Nonetheless, a full dogmatic articulation of the canon was not made until the Council of Trent of 1546 for Roman Catholicism,[27] the Thirty-Nine Articles of 1563 for the Church of England, the Westminster Confession of Faith of 1647 for British Calvinism, and the Synod of Jerusalem of 1672 for the Greek Orthodox.

Also see Canon

Christian  A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, a monotheistic religion centered on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth and interpreted by Christians to have been prophesied in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament.

The word comes from Greek (khristianos), from (khristos) meaning "the anointed." In the (Greek) Septuagint version of the Hebrew Bible, khristos was used to translate the Hebrew (Mašía) (messiah), meaning "[one who is] anointed."

The first known usage of the term khristianos can be found in the New Testament in Acts 11:26: "the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch." The name Christian was first used to denote those known to be teachers or leaders of the church (saints). They were disciples and followers of Jesus Christ. The other two New Testament uses of the word also refer to the public identity of those who follow Jesus. The Jewish king said the Apostle Paul had almost persuaded the king "to become a Christian" (Acts 26:28). Writing in 1 Peter 4:16, The Message translation, the Apostle Peter encouraged believers who are abused "because you're a Christian, don't give it a second thought. Be proud of the distinguished status reflected in that name!"

The earliest recorded use of the term outside the Bible was when Tacitus recorded that Nero blamed the "Christians" for the Great Fire of Rome in AD 64.

"Christian" also means a member or adherent of a church or other organized group within Christianity. As an adjective, the term may describe anything associated with Christianity or even remotely thought to be consistent with Christianity, as in "the Christian thing to do."

What is a Christian?

The American Heritage Dictionary defines a Christian as "one who professes belief in Jesus as Christ or follows the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus; one who lives according to the teachings of Jesus."

A wide range of beliefs and practices is found across the world among those who call themselves Christian. A 2007 survey in the United States identified the following typical categories:

1. Active Christians: Committed to attending church, Bible reading, and sharing their faith that salvation comes through Jesus Christ.

2. Professing Christians: Also committed to "accepting Christ as Savior and Lord" as the key to being a Christian, but focus on personal relationships with God and Jesus more than on church, Bible reading or sharing faith.

3. Liturgical Christians: High level of spiritual activity, mainly expressed by attending and recognising the authority of the church, and by serving in it or in the community.

4. Private Christians: Believe in God and in doing good things, but not within a church context. In the American survey, this was the largest and youngest segment.

5. Cultural Christians: Do not view Jesus as essential to salvation. They are the least likely to align their beliefs or practices with biblical teachings, or attend church. They favor a universal theology that sees many ways to God.

Other countries may not show the same variety, especially where there is active persecution of Christians.

People who have a distinct heritage and come to believe in Jesus may also identify themselves differently. Messianic Jews believe that they are a sect of Judaism and that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah and the Divine Savior. They seek to live in obedience to the Hebrew Scriptures, including the Torah and Halakha.

Christian Bible  The Christian Bible consists of the Hebrew scriptures, which have been called the Old Testament, and some later writings known as the New Testament. Some groups within Christianity include additional books as part one or both of these sections of their sacred writings – most prominent among which are the biblical apocrypha or deuterocanonical books.

In Judaism, the term Christian Bible is commonly used to identify only those books like the New Testament which have been added by Christians to the Masoretic Text, and excludes any reference to an Old Testament

Christian church

1. One of the groups of Christians who have their own beliefs and forms of worship

2. A Protestant church that accepts the Bible as the only source of true Christian faith and practices baptism by immersion

Christianity  A religious tradition whose roots reach deeply into the Judaic traditions current in the first century BCE. There are several descendants of the original Christian faiths that use unique variants of the biblical texts. There are the Amharic, or Ethiopians. There are the Greek Orthodox. There are Gnostics. There are also the descendants of the church of James. It is clear that it is much easier to define Christianity in terms of its current Catholic Canon, and its protestant variants, complex as that may be, than in terms of historical roots which are clouded by the effects of time, mishap and generations of intervening redactors.


1.  The theological study of the person and deeds of Jesus.

2. A doctrine or theory based on Jesus or Jesus's teachings.

Christology is the study of the nature of Jesus Christ. Because the traditional and orthodox Christian position has been the Jesus was both fully human and fully divine, one of the key questions in Christology has been to explain how that might be possible.

Books of Chronicles

 see Chronicles 1 and Chronicles 2

The Books of Chronicles (Hebrew Divrei Hayyamim, Greek Paraleipomêna) are part of the Hebrew Bible (Jewish Tanakh and Christian Old Testament). In the masoretic text, it appears as the first or last book of the Ketuvim (the latter arrangement also making it the final book of the Jewish bible). Chronicles largely parallels the Davidic narratives in the books of Samuel (First Book of Samual - Second Book of Samual) and the Books of Kings. For this reason it was called "Supplements" in the Septuagint, where it appears in two parts (I & II Chronicles), immediately following 1 & 2 Samuel and 1 & 2 Kings as a supplement to them. The division of Chronicles and its place in the Christian canon of the Old Testament are based upon the Septuagint.

Chumash (also Humash) is one of the Hebrew names for the Five Books of Moses, also known as the Pentateuch, used in Judaism. The word comes from the Hebrew word for five, chamesh. A more formal term is "Chamishah Chumshei Torah."

    Also refered to modern times people, a Native American people located in California

Church  Church may refer to:

In Christianity:

  • Church (building), building used for religious services and worship. 

  • Christian Church, worldwide body of Christians.
  • Church body, Christian religious body (local, national, or worldwide) made up of congregation(s), members, and clergy.
  • Invisible church, the "invisible" body of the elect who according to Christianity are known only to God.
  • Roman Catholic Church, Christian church that adheres to the teaching of the Papacy.
  • Orthodox Church, Christian Churches rejecting the supremacy of the Pope, separated from the Roman Catholic Church since the 11th century East-West Schism.
  • Protestant Church, form of Christian faith and church organization originating from the doctrines of the Protestant Reformation.
  • National church, various Christian Churches limited in scope to a nation state.
  • Church service, time for communal worship, often on Sundays. 
  • Christian clergy, formal Christian religious leadership. 

Circumcision  Male circumcision is the removal of some or all of the foreskin (prepuce) from the penis. The word "circumcision" comes from Latin circum (meaning "around") and cædere (meaning "to cut").

Early depictions of circumcision are found in cave drawings and Ancient Egyptian tombs, though some pictures may be open to interpretation. Male circumcision is considered a commandment from God in Judaism. In Islam, though not discussed in the Qur'an, circumcision is widely practiced and most often considered to be a sunnah. It is also customary in some Christian churches in Africa, including some Oriental Orthodox Churches. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), global estimates suggest that 30% of males are circumcised, of whom 68% are Muslim. The prevalence of circumcision varies mostly with religious affiliation, and sometimes culture.

There is controversy surrounding circumcision. Advocates for circumcision state that it provides important health advantages which outweigh the risks, has no substantial effects on sexual function, has a low complication rate when carried out by an experienced physician, and is best performed during the neonatal period. Opponents of circumcision state that it is extremely painful, adversely affects sexual pleasure and performance, may increase the risk of certain infections, and when performed on infants and children violates the individual's human rights.

The American Medical Association stated in 1999: "Virtually all current policy statements from specialty societies and medical organizations do not recommend routine neonatal circumcision, and support the provision of accurate and unbiased information to parents to inform their choice."

The World Health Organization (WHO; 2007), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS; 2007), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC; 2008) state that evidence indicates male circumcision significantly reduces the risk of HIV acquisition by men during penile-vaginal sex, but also state that circumcision only provides partial protection and should not replace other interventions to prevent transmission of HIV

concubine  a woman who is united to a man for the purpose of providing him with sexual pleasure and children, but not being honored as a full partner in marriage; a second-class wife. In Old Testament times (and in some places now), it was the custom of middle-eastern kings, chiefs, and wealthy men to marry multiple wives and concubines, but God commanded the Kings of Israel not to do so (Deuteronomy 17:17) and Jesus encouraged people to either remain single or marry as God originally intended: one man married to one woman (Matthew 19:3-12; 1 Corinthians 7:1-13).

Confirmation (Catholic Church)  known also as Chrismation, is one of the seven sacraments through which Catholics pass in the process of their religious upbringing. In this sacrament they are said to receive the Holy Spirit.

Catholics believe that Confirmation is based on Biblical precedent such as Acts of the Apostles 8:14-17:

A sacrament in which the Holy Ghost is given to those already baptized in order to make them strong and perfect Christians and soldiers of Jesus Christ.

 Confirmation is the sacrament in which the Holy Spirit comes to us in a special way to join us more closely to Jesus and his Church and to seal and strengthen us as Christ's witnesses. It is the completion of baptismal grace

congregation   A group of people who adhere to a common faith and habitually attend a given church

cor  A cor is a dry measure of about 391 liters, 103 U. S. gallons, or 86 imperial gallons.

corban  Corban is a Hebrew word for an offering devoted to God.

Coverdale Bible  The Coverdale Bible, compiled by Myles Coverdale and published in 1535, was the first complete Modern English translation of the Bible (not just the Old Testament or New Testament), and the first complete printed translation into English (cf. Wycliffe's Bible in manuscript). The later editions (folio and quarto) published in 1539 were the first complete Bibles printed in England. The 1539 folio edition carried the royal licence and was therefore the first officially approved Bible translation in English.

The place of publication of the 1535 edition was long disputed. The printer was assumed to be either Froschover in Zurich or Cervicornus and Soter (in Cologne or Marburg). Since the discovery of Guido Latré in 1997, the printer has been identified as Merten de Keyser in Antwerp. The publication was partly financed by Jacobus van Meteren in Antwerp, whose sister-in-law, Adriana de Weyden, married John Rogers. The other backer of the Coverdale Bible was Jacobus van Meteren's nephew, Leonard Ortels (†1539), father of Abraham Ortelius (1527-1598), the famous humanist geographer and cartographer.

Although Coverdale was also involved in the preparation of the Great Bible of 1539, the Coverdale Bible continued to be reprinted. The last of over 20 editions of the whole Bible or its New Testament appeared in 1553.

Coverdale based his New Testament on Tyndale's translation. For the Old Testament, Coverdale used Tyndale's published Pentateuch and possibly his published Jonah. He apparently did not make use of any of Tyndale's other, unpublished, Old Testament material (cf. Matthew Bible). Instead, Coverdale himself translated the remaining books of the Old Testament and the Apocrypha. Not being a Hebrew or Greek scholar, he worked primarily from German Bibles-Luther's Bible and the Swiss-German version (Zürich Bible) of Zwingli and Juda-and Latin sources including the Vulgate.

Creation   Creation according to Genesis is the creation myth found in the first two chapters of the Bible, Genesis 1-2. It describes the making of the heavens and the Earth over a period of six days through the spoken word of God, and includes such things as a seven day week, the setting apart of the seventh day as a day of rest (a Sabbath), the creation of man and woman, the sun, moon, and the stars, and the planting of the Garden of Eden.

Genesis 1-11 is based on Mesopotamian creation myths, differing in that it presents the theological message of Yahwistic monotheism. For Jews and Christians this creation account is considered to be sacred history.

There has been considerable debate concerning this account with regards to the language, structure, and interpretation. The discussion around the language of the original Hebrew concerns whether or not it supports the teaching of creatio ex nihilo ("creation out of nothing") and that of the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. When looking at the structure of these two chapters, the question is whether or not they consist of simply one creation account or of two creation accounts that have been merged together. Then interpretively there are two popular views of the Genesis account that exist today within religious scholarship: The first understands it as being an accurate record of the creation of the universe while the second view interprets it as being allegorical.

crucify  Crucify means to execute someone by nailing them to a cross with metal spikes. Their hands are stretched out on the crossbeam with spikes driven through their wrists or hands. Their feet or ankles are attached to a cross with a metal spike. The weight of the victim's body tends to force the air out of his lungs. To rise up to breathe, the victim has to put weight on the wounds, and use a lot of strength. The victim is nailed to the cross while the cross is on the ground, then the cross is raised up and dropped into a hole, thus jarring the wounds. Before crucifixion, the victim was usually whipped with a Roman cat of nine tails, which had bits of glass and metal tied to its ends. This caused chunks of flesh to be removed and open wounds to be placed against the raw wood of the cross. The victim was made to carry the heavy crossbeam of his cross from the place of judgment to the place of crucifixion, but often was physically unable after the scourging, so another person would be pressed into involuntary service to carry the cross for him. Roman crucifixion was generally done totally naked to maximize both shame and discomfort. Eventually, the pain, weakness, dehydration, and exhaustion of the muscles needed to breathe make breathing impossible, and the victim suffocates.

crucifixion  A form of execution under Roman law reserved for revolutionary activity  See crucify

Crucifixion of Jesus  The crucifixion of Jesus is an event recorded in all four gospels which takes place immediately after his arrest and trial. In Christian theology, the death of Jesus by crucifixion is a core event on which much depends. It represents a critical aspect of the doctrine of salvation, portraying the suffering and death of the Messiah as necessary for the forgiveness of sins. According to the New Testament, Jesus rose from the dead after three days and appeared to his Disciples before his ascension to heaven

cubit  A cubit is a unit of linear measure, from the elbow to the tip of the longest finger of a man. This unit is commonly converted to 0.46 meters or 18 inches, although that varies with height of the man doing the measurement. There is also a "long" cubit that is longer than a regular cubit by a handbreadth. (Ezekiel 43:13)

cummin  Cummin is an aromatic seed from Cuminum cyminum, resembling caraway in flavor and appearance. It is used as a spice.

Curse of Ham The Curse of Ham (also called the curse of Canaan) refers to the curse that Ham's father Noah placed upon Ham's son Canaan, after Ham "saw his father's nakedness" because of drunkenness in Noah's tent. It is related in the Book of Genesis (Gen 9:20-27).

Some Biblical scholars see the "curse of Ham" story as an early Hebrew rationalization for Israel's conquest and enslavement of the Canaanites, who were presumed to descend from Canaan.

The "curse of Ham" had been used by some members of Abrahamic religions to justify racism and the enslavement of people of Black African ancestry, who were believed to be descendants of Ham. They were often called Hamites and were believed to have descended through Canaan or his older brothers. This racist theory was widely held during the 18th-20th centuries, but it has been largely abandoned since the mid-20th century.

Cush   See Cush Here in Names in The Bible


Damascus  Meaning: activity.

This was the name of the most ancient of Oriental cities, the capital of Syria (Isa. 7:8; 17:3) located about 133 miles north of Jerusalem. The location of this city is said to be the most beautiful of all Western Asia.

Damascus is mentioned among the conquests of the Egyptian king Thothmes III. (B.C. 1500), and in the Amarna tablets (B.C. 1400).

It is first mentioned in Scripture in connection with Abraham's victory over the confederate kings under Chedorlaomer (Gen. 14:15). It was the native place of Abraham's steward (15:2). It is not again noticed till the time of David, when "the Syrians of Damascus came to succour Hadadezer" (q.v.), 2 Sam. 8:5; 1 Chr. 18:5. In the reign of Solomon, Rezon became leader of a band who revolted from Hadadezer (1 Kings 11:23), and betaking themselves to Damascus, settled there and made their leader king. There was a long war, with varying success, between the Israelites and Syrians, who at a later period became allies of Israel against Judah (2 Kings 15:37).

The Syrians were at length subdued by the Assyrians, the city of Damascus was taken and destroyed, and the inhabitants carried captive into Assyria (2 Kings 16:7-9; compare Isa. 7:8). In this, prophecy was fulfilled (Isa. 17:1; Amos 1:4; Jer. 49:24). The kingdom of Syria remained a province of Assyria till the capture of Nineveh by the Medes (B.C. 625), when it fell under the conquerors. After passing through various vicissitudes, Syria was invaded by the Romans (B.C. 64), and Damascus became the seat of the government of the province. In A.D. 37 Aretas, the king of Arabia, became master of Damascus, having driven back Herod Antipas.

This city is memorable as the scene of Saul's conversion (Acts 9:1-25). The street called "Straight," in which Judas lived, in whose house Saul was found by Ananias, is known by the name Sultany, or "Queen's Street." It is the principal street of the city. Paul visited Damascus again on his return from Arabia (Gal. 1:16, 17). Christianity was planted here as a center (Acts 9:20), from which it spread to the surrounding regions.

In A.D. 634 Damascus was conquered by the growing Islamic power. In A.D. 1516 it fell under the dominion of the Turks, its present rulers.

darnel  Darnel is a weed grass (probably bearded darnel or Lolium temulentum) that looks very much like wheat until it is mature, when the seeds reveal a great difference. Darnel seeds aren't good for much except as chicken feed or to burn to prevent the spread of this weed.

David   See David Here in Names in The Bible

David and Goliath  See David and Goliath Here in Names in The Bible

David and Solomon  See David and Solomon Here in Names in The Bible

Davidic line  refers to the tracing of royal lineage by kings and major leaders in Jewish history to the Biblical King David in Judaism.

Dead Sea  See Lake Asphaltitus

Dead Sea scrolls   The Dead Sea Scrolls consist of roughly 900 documents, including texts from the Hebrew Bible, discovered between 1947 and 1956 in eleven caves in and around the Wadi Qumran near the ruins of the ancient settlement of Khirbet Qumran, on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea. The texts are of great religious and historical significance, as they include some of the only known surviving copies of Biblical documents made before 100 AD, and preserve evidence of considerable diversity of belief and practice within late Second Temple Judaism. They are written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, mostly on parchment, but with some written on papyrus.  These manuscripts generally date between 150 BC to 70 AD.

Publication of the scrolls has taken many decades, and the delay has been a source of academic controversy. As of 2007 two volumes remain to be completed, with the whole series, Discoveries in the Judean Desert, running to thirty nine volumes in total. Many of the scrolls are now housed in the Shrine of the Book in Jerusalem. According to The Oxford Companion to Archeology, "The biblical manuscripts from Qumran, which include at least fragments from every book of the Old Testament, except perhaps for the Book of Esther, provide a far older cross section of scriptural tradition than that available to scholars before. While some of the Qumran biblical manuscripts are nearly identical to the Masoretic, or traditional, Hebrew text of the Old Testament, some manuscripts of the books of Exodus and Samuel found in Cave Four exhibit dramatic differences in both language and content. In their astonishing range of textual variants, the Qumran biblical discoveries have prompted scholars to reconsider the once-accepted theories of the development of the modern biblical text from only three manuscript families: of the Masoretic text, of the Hebrew original of the Septuagint, and of the Samaritan Pentateuch. It is now becoming increasingly clear that the Old Testament scripture was extremely fluid until its canonization around A.D. 100."

Six of the Dead Sea Scrolls are currently on exhibit at the Jewish Museum in New York City until January 4, 2009,[4] and six are on display at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh until December 28. The Royal Ontario Museum of Toronto will host an exhibition on the scrolls from June 27, 2009 to January 3, 2010

Deluge  The story of a Great Flood (also known as the Deluge) sent by a deity or deities to destroy civilization as an act of divine retribution is a widespread theme among many cultural myths. Though it is best known in modern times through the Biblical story of Noah's Ark and in the Hindu Puranic story of Manu, it is also known as Deucalion in Greek mythology and Utnapishtim in the Epic of Gilgamesh.

denarii  plural form of denarius, Roman Republican coins, originally cast in silver and worth 10 asses; known as a "penny" in the New Testament. The Library of Congress exhibition includes coins from the mid-first century BCE.

denarius  A denarius is a silver Roman coin worth about a day's wages for an agricultural laborer. A denarius was worth 1/25th of a Roman aureus.

The tribute penny of the Bible is widely regarded as a denarius of the Emperor Tiberius, who ruled Rome from A.D. 14 to 37. It shows Tiberius on the front and the legend "Tiberius Caesar Augustus, Son of the Divine Augustus." The back shows his mother, Livia, seated and the words "High Priest," one of Tiberius' many titles.

The denarius was a day's pay for a worker, such as a vineyard laborer (Matthew 20:2).

Deuteronomist  The Deuteronomist (D) is one of the sources of the Torah postulated by the Documentary Hypothesis (DH) that treats the texts of Scripture as products of human intellect, working in time. Martin Noth argued that there was an underlying unity in language and cultural content of the books from Deuteronomy to 2 Kings (Noth 1943). He presented the persona of "The Deuteronomist" as a single author who was using pre-Exilic material but was editing and writing in the age of Babylonian exile, the mid-sixth century BCE. Others suggest that "the Deuteronomist" is a close-knit group of Temple scholars rather than a sole individual. The majority of scholars follow Noth's opinion, that the Deuteronomist also wrote the Deuteronomistic history (Joshua, Judges, 1 & 2 Samuel, and 1 & 2 Kings). Some suggest that the same source may also have written the account of Jeremiah. Since Noth's work, some scholars attribute two separate stages to the text, a first (referred to as Dtr1) and second (referred to as Dtr2) edition of the text, although most still consider that both editions were the result of the same author.

The actual identity of the Deuteronomist is less secure than the body of his editing work: scholars postulate that the author was Baruch (Neriyah's son), Jeremiah's scribe, or possibly Jeremiah, due to the similarities in style between Jeremiah, and the inclusion in Jeremiah of direct (unattributed) quotes of D, as well as the affiliation of Jeremiah to the Shiloh priests, the time period at which Jeremiah lived.

This definition describes the opinion of the DH without taking into account alternative opinions;

Deuteronomy  Deuteronomy is the fifth book of the Hebrew Bible and of the Old Testament. In form it is a set of three sermons delivered by Moses reviewing the previous forty years of wandering in the wilderness; its central element is a detailed law-code by which the Children of Israel are to live in the Promised Land.

In theological terms the book constitutes a covenant between Yahweh and the "Children of Israel"; this is the culmination of the series of covenants which begins with that between Yahweh and all living things after the Flood (Genesis 9). One of its most significant verses constitutes the shema ("Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is one!"), which today serves as the definitive statement of Jewish identity.

The majority scholarly opinion is that the bulk of the book appears to have been composed in the late 7th century BC, during the religious reforms carried out under king Josiah, with later additions from the period after the fall of Judah to the Neo-Babylonian empire in 586 BC; a minority view holds that the book is largely a creation of the post-Exilic, Persian period, i.e. the 4th century BC and even later. Its essential concerns mirror the thrust of Josiah's reforms: Yahweh is to be accepted as the sole God of Israel, and worshiped only in one place.

devil  The word "devil" comes from the Greek "diabolos," which means "one prone to slander; a liar." "Devil" is used to refer to a fallen angel, also called "Satan," who works to steal, kill, destroy, and do evil. The devil's doom is certain, and it is only a matter of time before he is thrown into the Lake of Fire, never to escape.

Divine promise  The promise that is the basis of the term is contained in Genesis 15:18-21 of the Hebrew Bible:

On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, "To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates - the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites."

The verse is said to describe what are known as "Borders of the Land" (Gevulot Ha-aretz). In Jewish tradition these borders define the maximum extent of the land promised to the descendants of Abraham through his son Isaac and grandson Jacob

didrachma  A didrachma is a Greek silver coin worth 2 drachmas, about as much as 2 Roman denarii, or about 2 days wages. It was commonly used to pay the half-shekel temple tax.

Disciple  The Twelve Apostles, sometimes referred to as "The Disciples"

In Christianity, the disciples were the students of Jesus during his ministry. Though often restricted to the Twelve Apostles, the gospels and the Book of Acts refer to varying numbers of disciples that range between 70 and 120 and Paul refers to 500. In the book of Acts, the Apostles themselves have disciples. The word disciple is used today as a way of self-identification for those who seek to learn from the life of Jesus.

The term disciple is derived from the New Testament, coming to English by way of the Latin discipulus meaning "a learner". Disciple should not be confused with apostle, meaning "messenger, he that is sent". While a disciple is one who learns from a teacher, a student, an apostle is sent to deliver those teachings to others. The word disciple appears two hundred and thirty two times in the four gospels and the Book of Acts.

Seventy Disciples

The Seventy Disciples or Seventy-two Disciples were early followers of Jesus mentioned in the Gospel of Luke 10:1-24. According to Luke, the only gospel in which they appear, Jesus appointed them and sent them out in pairs to spread his message. In Western Christianity it is usual to refer to them as Disciples while in Eastern Christianity they are usually referred to as Apostles.Using the original Greek words, both titles are descriptive as an apostle is one sent on a mission whereas a disciple is a student, but the two traditions differ on the scope of the word apostle.

distaff  part of a spinning wheel used for twisting threads.

Donatist  The Donatists (named for the Berber Christian Donatus Magnus) were followers of a belief considered a schism by the broader churches of the Catholic tradition, and most particularly within the context of the religious milieu of the provinces of Roman North Africa in Late Antiquity. They lived in the Roman province of Africa and flourished in the fourth and fifth centuries.

Like the Novatianist schism of the previous century, the Donatists were rigorists, holding that the church must be a church of saints, not sinners, and that sacraments, such as baptism, administered by traditores (Christians who surrendered the Scriptures to the authorities who outlawed possession of them) were invalid. Probably in 311, a new bishop of Carthage was consecrated by someone who had allegedly been a traditor; his opponents consecrated a short-lived rival, who was succeeded by Donatus, after whom the schism was named. In 313, a commission appointed by Pope Miltiades found against the Donatists, but they continued to exist, viewing themselves, and not what was known as the Catholic Church, as the true Church, the only one with valid sacraments. Because of their association with the circumcellions, they brought upon themselves repression by the imperial authorities, but they drew upon African regional sentiment, while the Catholic party had the support of Rome. They were still a force at the time of Saint Augustine of Hippo at the end of the fourth century, and disappeared only after the Arab conquest of the 7th-8th century.

Douai Bible  See Douay-Rheims Bible

Douay Rheims Bible
Douay-Rheims Bible  The Douay-Rheims Bible, also known as the Rheims-Douai Bible or Douai Bible and abbreviated as D-R, is a translation of the Bible from the Latin Vulgate into English. The New Testament was published in one volume with extensive commentary and notes in 1582. The Old Testament followed in 1609-10 in two volumes, also extensively annotated. The notes took up the bulk of the volumes and had a strong polemical and patristic character. They also offered insights on issues of translation, and on the Hebrew and Greek source texts of the Vulgate. The purpose of the version, both the text and notes, was to uphold Catholic tradition in the face of the Protestant Reformation which was heavily influencing England. As such it was an impressive effort by English Catholics to support the Counter-Reformation.

Although the Jerusalem Bible, New American Bible (in the United States), the Revised Standard Version, the New Revised Standard Version and the New Jerusalem Bible are the most commonly used in English-speaking Catholic churches, the Challoner revision of the Douay-Rheims is still often the Bible of choice of English-speaking Traditionalist Catholics.

D-R  See Douay-Rheims Bible

drachma  A drachma is a Greek silver coin worth about one Roman denarius, or about a day's wages for an agricultural laborer.


Eber  See Eber Here in Names in The Bible

1.  worldwide or general in extent, influence, or application


a: of, relating to, or representing the whole of a body of churches

b: promoting or tending toward worldwide Christian unity or cooperation

Egypt   a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Western Asia. Covering an area of about 1,010,000 square kilometers (390,000 sq mi), Egypt borders the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northeast, the Red Sea to the east, Sudan to the south and Libya to the west.

Egypt is one of the most populous countries in Africa and the Middle East. The great majority of its estimated 82 million live near the banks of the Nile River, in an area of about 40,000 square kilometers (15,000 sq mi), where the only arable agricultural land is found.


The large areas of the Sahara Desert are sparsely inhabited. About half of Egypt's residents live in urban areas, with the majority spread across the densely-populated centres of greater Cairo, Alexandria and other major cities in the Nile Delta.

Egypt is famous for its ancient civilization and some of the world's most famous monuments, including the Giza pyramid complex and its Great Sphinx. The southern city of Luxor contains numerous ancient artifacts, such as the Karnak Temple and the Valley of the Kings. Egypt is widely regarded as an important political and cultural nation of the Middle East.

Upper Egypt  is a narrow strip of land that extends from the cataract boundaries of modern-day Aswan to the area between El-Aiyat and Zawyet Dahshur, south of modern-day Cairo. The northern section of Upper Egypt, between El-Aiyat and Asyut is sometimes known as Middle Egypt. Modern inhabitants of Upper Egypt are known as Sa'idis; they generally speak Sa'idi Arabic.

Upper Egypt is on the Western side of the Nile River, which runs over 4,000 miles long.

Upper Egypt was known as Ta Shemau which means "the land of reeds." It was divided into twenty-two districts called nomes. The first nome was roughly where modern Aswan is and the twenty-second was at modern Atfih (Aphroditopolis), just to the south of Cairo.

The main city of predynastic Upper Egypt was Nekhen (Greek Hierakonpolis), whose patron deity was the vulture goddess Nekhbet. For most of pharaonic Egypt's history Thebes was the administrative center of Upper Egypt. After its devastation by the Assyrians its importance declined. Under the Ptolemies the city of Ptolemais took over the role of capital of Upper Egypt. Upper Egypt was represented by the tall White Crown Hedjet, and its symbol was the flowering lotus.

In modern Egypt, the title Prince of the Sa'id (meaning Prince of Upper Egypt) was used by the heir apparent to the Egyptian throne. Although the Egyptian monarchy was abolished in 1953, the title continues to be used by Muhammad Ali, Prince of Said.

Lower Egypt  Lower Egypt is the northern-most section of Egypt. It refers to the fertile Nile Delta region, which stretches from the area between El-Aiyat and Zawyet Dahshur, south of modern-day Cairo, and the Mediterranean Sea.

Today there are two principal channels that the Nile takes through the river's delta: one in the west at Rashid and one in the east at Damietta. In ancient times, Pliny the Elder (N.H. 5.11) said that upon reaching the delta the Nile split into seven branches (from east to west): the Pelusiac, the Tanitic, the Mendesian, the Phatnitic, the Sebennytic, the Bolbitine, and the Canopic. Today the delta region is well watered, crisscrossed by channels and canals.

Lower Egypt was known as Ta-Mehu which means "land of papyrus." It was divided into twenty districts called nomes, the first of which was at el-Lisht. Because Lower Egypt was mostly undeveloped scrubland, undeveloped for human life and filled with all types of plant life such as grasses and herbs, the organization of the nomes underwent several changes.

The climate in Lower Egypt is milder than that of Upper Egypt owing primarily to its proximity to the Mediterranean Sea. Temperatures are less extreme and rainfall is more abundant.

The capital of Lower Egypt was Buto. Its patron goddess was the cobra goddess Wadjet. Lower Egypt was represented by the Low Red Crown Deshret, and its symbol was the papyrus.


1. an ancient country in southwestern Asia to the east of the Tigris River (in what is modern Iran); was known for its warlike people

2.  son of Shem  See Elam Here in Names in The Bible

Elam (place)

Elam was an ancient civilization located in what is now southwest Iran.

Elam was centered in the far west and southwest of modern-day Iran, stretching from the lowlands of Khuzestan and Ilam Province (which takes its name from Elam), as far as Jiroft in Kerman province and Burned City in Zabol, as well as a small part of southern Iraq.

Situated just to the east of Mesopotamia, Elam was part of the early urbanization during the Chalcolithic. The emergence of written records from around 3000 BC also parallels Mesopotamian history. In the Old Elamite period (Middle Bronze Age), Elam consisted of kingdoms on the Iranian plateau, centered in Anshan, and from the mid-2nd millennium BC, it was centered in Susa in the Khuzestan lowlands. Its culture played a crucial role in the Gutian Empire, especially during the Achaemenid dynasty that succeeded it, when the Elamite language remained among those in official use.

The Elamite language has no established affinities with any other, and seems to be a language isolate such as Sumerian; however some researchers have posited the existence of a larger group known as Elamo-Dravidian.

El-Elohe-Israel  El-Elohe-Israel means "God, the God of Israel" or "The God of Israel is mighty."

ephah  An ephah is a measure of volume of about 22 liters, 5.8 U. S. gallons, 4.8 imperial gallons, or a bit more than half a bushel.

Elephantine  Island in upper Egypt, near Aswan, where a Judaean military colony was located in the fifth century BCE. Approximately forty Aramaic autograph texts, written by or to the inhabitants of the colony, and some legal documents were discovered there in 1906. The precise geological references contained therein show that they were written locally.

En Gedi  An ancient city less than 10 miles north of Masada. The hills above En Gedi are the location of the Essene community described by Pliny according to some readings of this Natural History. The consensus view is that Qumran is the Essene community and the "above" in Pliny should be read as north, about 20 miles north, in fact. Of course, it is also possible that Pliny made it up. He was never there and the identity and reliability of his sources is uncertain.

Enoch  See Enoch Here in Names in The Bible

Epistle of Peter  

There are two books in the New Testament called Epistles of Peter:

    * First Epistle of Peter
    * Second Epistle of Peter

eschatology  That branch of religious literature and belief having to do with various aspects of the afterlife, the Final Judgement, bodily resurrection, immortality of the soul, etc.

Ethnarch  A Greek term meaning 'ruler of a nation', a less prestigious title than 'king', but still implying a degree of independence under an overlord.

Eucharist  The Eucharist, also called Holy Communion or Lord's Supper and other names, is a Christian sacrament commemorating, by consecrating bread and wine, the Last Supper, the final meal that Jesus Christ shared with his disciples before his arrest, and eventual crucifixion, when he gave them bread saying, "This is my body", and wine saying, "This is my blood."

There are different interpretations of the significance of the Eucharist, but "there is more of a consensus among Christians about the meaning of the Eucharist than would appear from the confessional debates over the sacramental presence, the effects of the Eucharist, and the proper auspices under which it may be celebrated."

The phrase "the Eucharist" may refer not only to the rite but also to the bread and wine used in the rite, and, in this sense, communicants may speak of "receiving the Eucharist", rather than "celebrating the Eucharist".

Eucharist (in the Catholic Church) 

Eucharist in the Catholic Church refers to both the celebration of the Mass, that is the Eucharistic Liturgy, and the consecrated bread and wine which according to the faith become the body and blood of Christ. Blessed Sacrament is a devotional term used in the Roman Catholic Church to refer to the Eucharistic species (the Body and Blood of Christ).

Exodus  (exodos = "departure")

1: a journey by a large group to escape from a hostile  environment 

2: the second book of the Jewish Torah and of the Christian Old Testament. It tells of the departure of the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt led by Moses; God gave them the Ten Commandments and the rest of Mosaic law on Mount Sinai during the Exodus. The book ends with the construction of the Tabernacle.

{Book of Exodus}

According to tradition, Exodus and the other four books of the Torah were written by Moses in the latter half of the 2nd millennium BC. Modern biblical scholarship sees it reaching its final textual form around 450 BC.

Books of the Torah

1. Genesis
2. Exodus
3. Leviticus
4. Numbers
5. Deuteronomy

Eve See Eve Here in Names in The Bible

Exuperius  See Exuperius Here in Names in The Bible

Ezra  See Ezra Here in Names in The Bible


First Epistle of Peter  The First Epistle of Peter is a book of the New Testament. It has traditionally been held to have been written by Saint Peter the apostle during his time as bishop of Rome. The letter is addressed to various churches in Asia Minor suffering religious persecution.

Some scholars believe the author was not Peter, but an unknown author writing after Peter's death. Estimates for the date of composition range from 60 to 112 AD.

First Revolt  The Jewish rebellion against the Roman rule that began in 66 CE and ended in 74 CE with the capture of the Jewish held fortress at Masada by the Romans. Its climax occurs with the destruction of Jerusalem and the Second Temple in 70 CE.

First Temple Period  ca. 950 - 586 BCE The period of Jewish history from the construction of Solomon's temple to the destruction of the First Temple and exile of the Hebrews to Babylonia.

Five Cities of the Plain  The five cities are Sodom, Gomorrah, Zoar, Admah, and Zeboiim. Some modern scholarship suggests but has yet to prove that these five cities sit at or near the mouths of five of the six major wadis that feed into the southeastern corner of the Dead Sea. All five wadis feed into the region above the Gohr which in earlier days may have been above water; thus the plain associated with these particular cities.



Galilee  E6 on the Map

Region. The northern part of Palestine, also referred to as Galilee of the gentiles because of the Assyrian conquest (Is 9:1). The S border was the Valley of Jezreel, the E border was to Sea of Galilee, the N border was Lebanon, and the W border was the Plain of Acre. It is the highest region in the country, with the coolest temperature. It was well watered by the winter rains and had numerous and abundant springs. The area is divided into two parts by a deep valley, thus upper Galilee and lower Galilee. Upper Galilee rose to a height of more than 3000 feet above sea level. Galilee's lush territory and fertile soil for agriculture provide a basis for rich economy in this region. It also contained a major road which brought the peoples of the Mediterranean to the lands of the East.

Galilee is referred to only seven times in the O.T. Josh. 12:23; 20:7; 21:32 (1 Chr. 6:76); 1 Kgs. 9:11; 2 Kgs. 15:29. In the territory was first conquered under Joshua the tribes that inhabited the territory dwelt among the Canaanite inhabitants. In 732 Tiglath-Pileser III conquered Galilee, and a region became an Assyrian Satrapy, known in the Assyrian documents as the Satrapy of Megiddo. In the Persian period Galilee was outside the Jewish state, and Galilee and Samaria were both a single district. Under the Seleucids this district was called an eparchy, and under the Ptolemies Galilee formed a separate hyparchy. At this time there were many Greeks and Phoenicians there, and some Jewish settlements. In 104-103 B.C. the Hasmonean Aristobulus conquered Galilee and added it to his kingdom. It remained a Jewish territory even after Palestine had been conquered by Pompey in 64 B.C., and later it became part of Herod's kingdom. After Herod's death in 4 B.C. Galilee and Perea was passed on to his son Herod Antipas who became Tetrarch, he founded the city of Tiberias and made it capital of Galilee.

Most of the early ministry of Jesus took place in Galilee. He lived in Nazareth (Matt 21:11) and performed his first miracle at Cana (John 2:1-11). When he ministry in Galilee the crowds received him gladly (Mark 12:37), and it was in Judea were Jesus was put to death. During the last supper Jesus told his disciples that after he been raised from the dead, He would go before them to meet them (Mark 14:28). After his resurrection an angel informed the disciples that Jesus had preceded them in Galilee were they would see him as he had promised (Mark 16:7).

During the Jewish war against the Romans Galilee was where the first battles were fought and the city was fortified by Josephus. After the revolt was put down Galilee was made part of the Roman province of Judea. The area of thrived after the period of the Second Jewish Revolt (A.D. 132-135), with numerous cities and villages.

Luke 1:26; 2:4; 3:1; Mark. 1:9; 1:14, 28; Matt. 4:23; 28:26; John 7:1; Acts 9:31.

Garden of Eden  The Garden of Eden is described in the Book of Genesis as being the place where the first man, Adam, and his wife, Eve, lived after they were created by God. This garden forms part of the creation myth and theodicy of the Abrahamic religions, and is often used to explain the origin of sin and mankind's wrongdoings. The creation story in Genesis relates the geographical location of both Eden and the garden to four rivers (Pishon, Gihon, Tigris, Euphrates), and three regions (Havilah, Assyria, and kush (often incorrectly translated as Ethiopia which was also known as Cush, but in this case thought to be referring to Cossaea which unlike Ethiopia does lie within the region being described).

Eden's location remains the subject of controversy and speculation among some Christians. There are hypotheses that locate Eden at the headwaters of the Tigris and Euphrates, in Iraq (Mesopotamia), Africa, and the Persian Gulf, among others though some Christians see it as metaphorical.

Gehenna  Gehenna is one word used for Hell. It comes from the Hebrew Gey-Hinnom, literally "valley of Hinnom." This word originated as the name for a place south of the old city of Jerusalem where the city's rubbish was burned. At one time, live babies were thrown crying into the fire under the arms of the idol, Moloch, to die there. This place was so despised by the people after the righteous King Josiah abolished this hideous practice that it was made into a garbage heap. Bodies of diseased animals and executed criminals were thrown there and burned.

Genesis  See Book of Genesis

genizah  (Hebrew: "storage room') A designated place, often in a synagogue, for storing worn out, damaged or defective Hebrew writings and ritual articles which cannot be destroyed because of their holiness.

Gentile  (from Latin, gentilis, meaning of or belonging to a clan or tribe)

The term Gentile refers to non-Israelite tribes or nations in translations of the Bible, most notably the English King James Version.

It serves as the Latin and subsequenly English translation of the Hebrew words (goy) and (nochri) in the Old Testament and the Greek word (éthne) in the New Testament.

Today, the primary meaning of gentile is "non-Jew".

gittith  Gittith is a musical term possibly meaning "an instrument of Gath."

gnosticism  A popular alternative form of Christianity widespread in the Roman Empire before Constantine, and adopted in various forms. Taking its name from the Greek word for "knowledge," it taught that its adherents could receive secret knowledge from God. Its most characteristic belief was a "dualism" emphasizing that the world and matter were inherently evil and that the holy spirit alone was good.

goad  a sharp, pointed prodding device used to motivate reluctant animals (such as oxen and mules) to move in the right direction.


 # The supernatural being conceived as the perfect and omnipotent and omniscient originator and ruler of the universe; the object of worship in ...

# deity: any supernatural being worshipped as controlling some part of the world or some aspect of life or who is the personification of a force

1.  the supreme or ultimate reality: as
     a: the Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshipped as creator and ruler of the universe

     b: Christian Science : the incorporeal divine Principle ruling over all as eternal Spirit : infinite Mind

2: a being or object believed to have more than natural attributes and powers and to require human worship  ; specifically : one controlling a particular aspect or part of reality

3: a person or thing of supreme value

4: a powerful ruler

# a man of such superior qualities that he seems like a deity to other people; "he was a god among men"

# idol: a material effigy that is worshipped; "thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image"; "money was his god"

God of Israel  or God in Judaism

The conception of God in Judaism is monotheistic. The God of Israel was known by two principal names in the Bible. One is YHWH, known as the Tetragrammaton. This name is sometimes vocalized theoretically by scholars as Yahweh, and for tabuistic reasons is replaced with Adonai "Lord" in liturgy. The other commonly used name in the Bible, Elohim, may be related to the Northwest Semitic generic term for "god", El, though plural forms of El, such as elim and the diminutive elilim, are found in the Bible.

gospel  Gospel means "good news" or "glad tidings," specifically the Good News of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection for our salvation, healing, and provision; and the hope of eternal life that Jesus made available to us by God's grace.

Gospels  Texts written in the style of first hand accounts of the events taking place during and following the time of Jesus. Popularly attributed to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Extended by some to include the Acts of the Apostles, attributed to Luke.

Great Bible   The Great Bible was the first authorized edition of the Bible in English, authorized by King Henry VIII of England to be read aloud in the church services of the Church of England.

The Great Bible was prepared by Myles Coverdale, working under commission of Sir Thomas Cromwell, Secretary to Henry VIII and Vicar General. In 1538, Cromwell directed the clergy to provide:

"&ldots;one book of the bible of the largest volume in English, and the same set up in some convenient place within the said church that ye have care of, whereas your parishioners may most commodiously resort to the same and read it."

Although called the Great Bible because of its large size, it is known by several other names as well: the Cromwell Bible, since Thomas Cromwell directed its publication; Whitchurch's Bible after its first English printer; also the Chained Bible, since it was chained in "some convenient place within the said church". It has also been termed less accurately Cranmer's Bible, since Thomas Cranmer's preface appeared only in the second edition.

The Great Bible was based on Matthew's Bible. It therefore includes, with very slight revision, the New Testament and the Old Testament portions that had been translated by William Tyndale. The remaining books of the Old Testament had been translated by Coverdale, who used mostly the Latin Vulgate and German translations as sources rather than working from the original Greek and Hebrew texts.

The Great Bible's New Testament revision is chiefly distinguished from Tyndale's source version by the interpolation of numerous phrases and sentences found only in the Vulgate. For example, here is the Great Bible's version of Acts 23:24-25 (as given in The New Testament Octapla):

    "...And delyver them beastes, that they maye sett Paul on, and brynge him safe unto Felix the hye debyte (For he dyd feare lest happlye the Jewes shulde take hym awaye and kyll him, and he hym selfe shulde be afterwarde blamed, as though he wolde take money.) and he wrote a letter after thys maner."

The non-italicized portions are taken over from Tyndale without change, but the italicized words, which are not found in the Greek text translated by Tyndale, have been added from the Latin. (The added sentence can also be found, with minor verbal differences, in the Douai-Rheims New Testament.) These inclusions appear to have been done to make the Great Bible more palatable to conservative English churchmen, many of whom considered the Vulgate to be the only legitimate Bible.

The psalms in the Book of Common Prayer are taken from the Great Bible rather than the King James Bible.

In 1568, the Great Bible was superseded as the authorised version of the Anglican Church by the Bishops' Bible. The last of over 30 editions of the Great Bible appeared in 1569

Great Sea  See Mediterranean Sea


Hades  Hades: The nether realm of the disembodied spirits. Also known as "hell."

Hagar  See Hagar Here in Names in The Bible

Hagiographa  See Kethubim

halakhah  Terms for Jewish ritual and civil law (e.g., Sabbath observance, tithing, contracts, etc.) and the texts concerned with them; disagreement on these matters are thought by some to have caused the Judaean Desert sect to secede from Israel, although this presupposes such a sect actually existed.

Ham  See Ham Here in Names in The Bible

Har-magedon  Har-magedon, also called Armegeddon, is most likely a reference to hill ("har") of Megiddo, near the Carmel Range in Israel. This area has a large valley plain with plenty of room for armies to maneuver.

Hasidim  "Pietists", "pious ones"; a religious sect of Jews devoted to strict observance of the law and opposed to the adoption of aspects of Greek culture by other Jews. They were the forerunners of both the Pharisees and the Essenes. They are first supported the Maccabean movement, but subsequently opposed it, regarding it as too political. It arose before the outbreak of the persecution by Antiochus Epiphanes (167 BCE), and continued to exist well into the time of the Hasmonaean dynasty.

Hasmonean  A family (a dynasty) of Jewish patriots to which the Maccabees belonged; period of Jewish history from the Maccabean Revolt (ca.167 BCE) to the Roman conquest of Judaea (ca. 67 BCE). Sometimes the period is extended as 167-30 BCE. The dynasty included Judas Maccabaeus, Jonathan, Simon, John Hyrcanus, Aristobolus I, Alexander Jannaeus, Alexandra Salome, Hyrcanus II, and Aristobolus II.

Havdalah  Havdalah comes from the Hebrew word "l'havdil," meaning "to separate." The Mitzvah of havdalah is performed at the conclusion of Shabbat, and it involves making a verbal separation between Shabbat and the rest of the week. Havdalah functions as a time divider, separating the serenity of Shabbat from the workaholism of the weekdays. Havdalah is to the end of Shabbat what Kiddush is to the beginning-Kiddush ushers Shabbat in, Havdalah ushers Shabbat out. This mitzvah is actually rooted in one of the Ten Commandments: "Remember to sanctify Shabbat." The sages interpreted this as a directive to sanctify the Shabbat when it enters - the Friday night kiddush - and when it departs - the havdalah. 

Heaven  Heaven may refer to the physical heavens, the sky or the seemingly endless expanse of the universe beyond. This is the traditional literal meaning of the term in English, however since at least AD 1000, it is typically also used to refer to an afterlife plane of existence (often held to exist in another realm) in various religions and spiritual philosophies, often described as the holiest possible place, accessible by people according to various standards of divinity, goodness, piety, faith etc.

While there are abundant and varied sources for conceptions of Heaven, the typical believer's view appears to depend largely on his religious tradition and particular sect. Some religions conceptualize Heaven as pertaining to some type of peaceful life after death related to the immortality of the soul. Heaven is generally construed as a place of happiness, sometimes eternal happiness. A psychological reading of sacred religious texts across cultures and throughout history would describe it as a term signifying a state of "full aliveness" or wholeness.

In ancient Judaism, the belief in Heaven and afterlife was connected with that of Sheol (mentioned in Isaiah 38:18, Psalms 6:5 and Job 7:7-10). Some scholars asserted that Sheol was an earlier concept, but this theory is not universally held. One later Jewish sect that maintained belief in a Resurrection of the dead was known as the Pharisees. Opposed to them were the Sadducees who denied the doctrine of Resurrection (Matt. 22:23). In most forms of Christianity, belief in the afterlife is professed in the major Creeds, such as the Nicene Creed, which states: "We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come."

Hebrew Bible   The term Hebrew Bible is a generic reference to those books of the Bible originally written in Biblical Hebrew (and Biblical Aramaic). The term closely corresponds to contents of the Jewish Tanakh and the Protestant Old Testament but does not include the deuterocanonical portions of the Roman Catholic or the Anagignoskomena portions of the Eastern Orthodox Old Testaments. The term does not imply naming, numbering or ordering of books, which varies, see also Biblical canon.

Hebrews   (or Hebertes, Eberites, Hebreians; Hebrew:  "traverse or pass over")

Hebrews are an ancient people defined as descendants of biblical Patriarch Abraham, a descendent of Noah.

They were called Ibri, meaning the people from over on the other side of the Jordan River. They lived in the Land of Canaan (the Levant).

Some authors believe Hebrew/Ibri denotes the descendents of the biblical patriarch Eber, a great grandson of Noah and a Abraham's ancestor, though the term has not been found in biblical or extra-biblical sources for any tribe or nation other than Abraham and his descendents. Note however that Abraham is once referred to as "Abram the Hebrew" (Genesis 14:13).

Hebrews are known as the ancestors of the Israelites, who used the Hebrew language. Israelites, whose remnant is the Jews, were the writers of the Hebrew Bible. They are also the spiritual and historical forerunners of the Christians and Muslims. In the Bible and in current language, the word Hebrews is often used as a synonym for Israelites, and sometimes for the users of the Hebrew language (Jews and Israelis).

Hekhalot  Mystical Jewish writings composed during the first few centuries after the destruction of the Second Temple, and characterized by descriptions of the "palaces" or "halls" (Hebrew, hekhalot) to be encountered by those (mystics) worthy of beholding the "Divine Chariot" (merkabah) of the Lord described in the Book of Ezekiel.


1. One in Hellenistic times who adopted the Greek language and culture, especially a Jew of the Diaspora.
2. A devotee or student of Greek civilization, language, or literature.

Hellenistic  Pertaining to the Hellenists

relating to or characteristic of the classical Greek civilization.

Hellenistic language, dialect, or idiom, the Greek spoken or used by the Jews who lived in countries where the Greek language prevailed; the Jewish-Greek dialect or idiom of the Septuagint.

That mixture of Greek and Near Eastern culture that began to develop after the conquests of Alexander the Great. (ca. 332 BCE). This movement was still very device at the time of Jewish Revolt in 66 CE.

The term Hellenistic itself is derived from (Hélle-n), the Greeks' traditional name for themselves. It was coined by the historian Johann Gustav Droysen to refer to the spreading of Greek culture and colonization over the non-Greek lands that were conquered by Alexander the Great in the 4th century BC. There has been much debate about the validity of Droysen's ideas; leading many to reject the label 'Hellenistic' (at least in the specific meaning of Droysen). However, the term Hellenistic can still be usefully applied to this period in history; and moreover, no better general term exists to do so.

Hellenistic Judaism  Hellenistic Judaism was a movement which existed in the Jewish diaspora before the Siege of Jerusalem in 70 AD, that sought to establish a Hebraic-Jewish religious tradition within the culture and language of Hellenism. The major literary product of the contact of Judaism and Hellenistic culture is the Septuagint.

Henry VIII of England   See Henry VIII of England Here in Names in The Bible

heresiographers  Religious scholars specializing in the study of heresies. They collected the works, and wrote detailed descriptions of the beliefs, of sectarians primarily to refute them.

herodian  Associated especially with Herod the Great's reign 37-4BCE; a period of Jewish history from 30 BCE - 70 CE

Herodium  Another Jewish fortress of ancient Palestine, built in the style of Masada and Machaerus, located southeast of Bethlehem and approximately 20 kilometers march from Qumran.

heterodoxy  Departure, in the eyes of later analysts, from the normative beliefs and practices of a religion. With respect to Judaism of the intertestamental period and Christianity of the early New Testament period, "orthodoxy" is difficult to define because of the state of fluctuation of Judaism during the earlier period, and the lack of the primary, unedited Christian documents from the latter.

Hexateuch   The first six books of the Old Testament.

The Hexateuch ("six scrolls") is the first six books of the Hebrew Bible (the Torah or Pentateuch and the book of Joshua). Some scholars propose that Joshua represents part of the northern Yahwist source (c 950 BC), detached from JE document by the Deuteronomist (c 650-621) and incorporated into the Deuteronomic history, with the books of Judges, Kings, and Samuel.

Reasons for this unity, in addition to the presumed presence of the other documentary traditions, are taken from comparisons of the thematic concerns that underlie the narrative surface of the texts. For instance, the Book of Joshua stresses the continuity of leadership from Moses to Joshua. Furthermore the theme of Joshua, the fulfillment of God's promise to lead the Israelites to the Promised Land, complements the thematic material of the Pentateuch, which had ended with the Israelites on the border of the Promised Land ready to enter.

The theory that Joshua completes the Torah in a 'Hexateuch' is advanced by critical scholars in the new field of "history of traditions", but the majority of traditional scholars follow the older rabbinic tradition, as it was expressed by the compilers of the Jewish Encyclopedia a century ago, that the Pentateuch is a complete work in itself. The Torah has always consisted of only the first five books of the Hebrew Bible.

hin  A hin was about 6.5 liters or 1.7 gallons.

Holy Ghost  A member of the Godhead, a personage of spirit, knows all things, and is known by many names.

Third Member of the Godhead: The Godhead consists of three separate persons or beings:

Being a part of the Godhead means he is one in purpose, in perfect harmony or unity, with the other members of the Godhead.

A Personage of Spirit: "The Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us" (D&C 130:223.) Spirit is made from matter that is too fine for our eyes to behold (see D&C 131:7-84) and the Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit or a spirit being.

Knows All Things: We believe that the Holy Ghost is omniscient, that he knows everything, just as Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ do. "Wherefore, watch over him that his faith fail not, and it shall be given by the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, that knoweth all things" (D&C 35:195.)

Known by Many Names: The Holy Ghost is called by many different names some of which are:

Holy Spirit
Light of Christ
Spirit of God
Spirit of the Lord
Spirit of Truth
Still Small Voice

The doctrine of the Catholic Church concerning the Holy Ghost forms an integral part of her teaching on the mystery of the Holy Trinity, of which St. Augustine (On the Holy Trinity I.3.5), speaking with diffidence, says: "In no other subject is the danger of erring so great, or the progress so difficult, or the fruit of a careful study so appreciable". The essential points of the dogma may be resumed in the following propositions:

    * The Holy Ghost is the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity.

    * Though really distinct, as a Person, from the Father and the Son, He is consubstantial with Them; being God like Them, He possesses with Them one and the same Divine Essence or Nature.

    * He proceeds, not by way of generation, but by way of spiration, from the Father and the Son together, as from a single principle.

Such is the belief the Catholic faith demands. 

homer  One homer is about 220 liters, 6.2 U. S. bushels, 6.1 imperial bushels, 58 U. S. gallons, or 48.4 imperial gallons.

Horeb  a mountain usually identified with Mt. Sinai: Ex. 3:1

Desert or mountain of the dried-up ground, a general name for the whole ountain range of which Sinai was one of the summits ( Ex. 3:1; 17:6; 33:6; Ps. 106:19, etc.). The modern name of the whole range is Jebel Musa. It is a huge mountain block, about 2 miles long by about 1 in breadth, with a very spacious plain at its north-east end, called the Er Rahah, in which the Israelites encamped for nearly a whole year.

See Mount Sinai 

Humash  See Chumash

hypocrite  a stage actor; someone who pretends to be someone other than who they really are; a pretender; a dissembler


Idumaeans  The inhabitants of Idumaea (Edom), who during intertestamental times continued to inhabit a large area east and south of the Dead Sea.

intercalation  The addition of an extra month to the lunar year in order to adjust it more closely to the solar year. The lunar year is 11 days shorter than the solar year. To partially compensate for this difference, the rabbis would intercalate a month at the end of the year twice in every seven years. This was necessary to keep the various holidays falling in their proper seasons.

intertestamental  The period between the end of the time described in the latest books of the Hebrew Bible and the opening of the New Testament.

Invisible church  The invisible church or church invisible is a theological concept originally taught by Saint Augustine of Hippo as part of his refutation of the Donatist sect. It refers to the "invisible" body of the elect who are known only to God, and contrasts with the "visible church"-that is, the institutional body on earth which preaches the gospel and administers the sacraments. Every member of the invisible church is saved, while the visible church contains some individuals who are saved and others who are unsaved. (Compare Matthew 7:21-24.)

The concept was revived again at the Protestant reformation as a way of distinguishing between the "visible" Catholic church, which according to the Reformers was largely corrupt, and those within it who are truly believers. Later Pietism took this one step further with its ecclesiolae in ecclesia.

Roman Catholic theology of the current era favors a sacramental approach to the idea of the Invisible Church : the Invisible Church must have true sacraments and authentic apostolic succession. This allows contemporary interpreters of Vatican Council II (cf declaration subsistit in) to state that the Catholic and Orthodox are part of the Invisible Church, while Protestants are mere ecclesial communities which do not form a true Church.

Irenaeus   See Irenaeus Here in Names in The Bible

Iron Age  In archaeology, the Iron Age was the stage in the development of any people in which tools and weapons whose main ingredient was iron were prominent. The adoption of this material coincided with other changes in some past societies often including differing agricultural practices, religious beliefs and artistic styles, although this was not always the case.

In history, the Iron Age is the last principal period in the three-age system for classifying prehistoric societies, preceded by the Bronze Age. Its date and context vary depending on the country or geographical region.

No firm ending date is set for the Iron Age in any particular society; there is simply a point where archaeology becomes less important than surviving history and traditions. Iron alloys remain popular as the steels in most metallic objects.

Iron Age II  Archaeological term for the period, particularly for Palestine, from the beginning of the United Monarchy (ca. 1200 - 1000 BCE) to the Babylonian Exile , 586 BCE, corresponding roughly to the First Temple period. Some modern scholars bring the Bronze Age forward to include the reign of Solomon so that the Iron Age starts closer to 900 BCE than to 1000 BCE. This is reasonable because the later part of the Bronze Age was a time of relative prosperity and that is more in accordance with the state of the court of Solomon than the rather austere style of the later Iron Age sites that have been excavated.

Isa  See Jesus in Islam

Isaac  See Isaac Here in Names in The Bible

Ishmael   See Ishmael Here in Names in The Bible

Islam  Islam is a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion originating with the teachings of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, a 7th century Arab religious and political figure. The word Islam means "submission", or the total surrender of oneself to God (Arabic: Allah). An adherent of Islam is known as a Muslim, meaning "one who submits [to God]". The word Muslim is the participle of the same verb of which Islam is the infinitive. There are between 1 billion and 1.8 billion Muslims, making Islam the second-largest religion in the world, after Christianity.

Muslims believe that God revealed the Qur'an to Muhammad, God's final prophet, through the angel Gabriel, and regard the Qur'an and the Sunnah (words and deeds of Muhammad) as the fundamental sources of Islam. They do not regard Muhammad as the founder of a new religion, but as the restorer of the original monotheistic faith of Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and other prophets. Islamic tradition holds that Jews and Christians distorted the revelations God gave to these prophets by either altering the text, introducing a false interpretation, or both.

Islam includes many religious practices. Adherents are generally required to observe the Five Pillars of Islam, which are five duties that unite Muslims into a community. In addition to the Five Pillars, Islamic law (sharia) has developed a tradition of rulings that touch on virtually all aspects of life and society. This tradition encompasses everything from practical matters like dietary laws and banking to warfare and welfare

Almost all Muslims belong to one of two major denominations, the Sunni (85%) and Shi'a (15%). The schism developed in the late 7th century following disagreements over the religious and political leadership of the Muslim community. Islam is the predominant religion in much of Africa and the Middle East, as well as in major parts of Asia. Large communities are also found in China, the Balkan Peninsula in Eastern Europe and Russia. There are also large Muslim immigrant communities in other parts of the world, such as Western Europe. About 20% of Muslims live in Arab countries, 30% in the Indian subcontinent and 15.6% in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country by population

Israel  officially the State of Israel

- is a state in Western Asia located on the eastern edge of the Mediterranean Sea. It borders Lebanon in the north, Syria in the northeast, Jordan in the east, and Egypt on the southwest, and contains geographically diverse features within its relatively small area. The West Bank and Gaza Strip are also adjacent. With a population of about 7.28 million, the majority of whom are Jews, Israel is the world's only Jewish state. It is also home to other ethnic groups, including most numerously Arab citizens of Israel, as well as many religious groups including Muslims, Christians, Druze, Samaritans and others.

The modern state of Israel has its roots in the Land of Israel (Eretz Yisrael), a concept central to Judaism since ancient times, and the heartland of the ancient Kingdom of Judah to which modern Jews are usually attributed. After World War I, the League of Nations approved the British Mandate of Palestine with the intent of creating a "national home for the Jewish people.It being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine" In 1947, the United Nations approved the partition of Palestine into two states, one Jewish and one Arab. On May 14, 1948 the state of Israel declared independence and this was followed by a war with the surrounding Arab states, which refused to accept the plan. The Israelis were subsequently victorious in a series of wars confirming their independence and expanding the borders of the Jewish state beyond those in the UN Partition Plan. Since then, Israel has been in conflict with many of the neighboring Arab countries, resulting in several major wars and decades of violence that continue to this day. Since its foundation, Israel's boundaries and even the State's very right to exist have been subject to dispute, especially among its Arab neighbors. Israel has signed peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, and efforts are being made to reach a permanent accord with the Palestinians. However several countries, including Syria and Iran, refuse to recognise Israel's right to exist.

Israel is a representative democracy with a parliamentary system and universal suffrage. The Prime Minister serves as head of government and the Knesset serves as Israel's legislative body. In terms of nominal gross domestic product, the nation's economy is estimated as being the 44th-largest in the world. Israel ranks highest among Middle Eastern countries on the bases of human development, freedom of the press, and economic competitiveness. Jerusalem is the country's capital, seat of government, and largest city, while Israel's main financial center is Tel Aviv.

History of ancient Israel and Judah

The history of Ancient Israel and Judah is known to us from ancient sources including Judaism's Tanakh or Hebrew Bible (known to Christianity as the Old Testament), and later classical writings such as the Talmud, the writings of Nicolaus of Damascus, Artapanas, Philo of Alexandria and Josephus, critical examination of medieval material such as the Ethiopian Kebra Nagast, and supplemented by ancient sources uncovered by archaeology including Egyptian, Moabite, Assyrian, Babylonian as well as Israelite and Judean inscriptions. William Dever suggests that rather than there being just one history there are in fact multiple histories and that we can distinguish nine types of history of Israel and Judah as follows.

   1. Theological history – the relationship between the God(s) and their believers.

   2. Political history – usually the account of “Great Men”, is generally episodic, chauvinistic and propagandist

   3. Narrative history – a running chronology of events

   4. Socio-cultural history – a history of institutions, including their social underpinnings in family, clan, tribe and social class and the state

   5. Intellectual history – the literary history of ideas and their development, context and evolution as expressed through texts and documents

   6. Cultural history – is based upon a larger context of overall cultural evolution, demography, socio-economic and political structure and ethnicity

   7. Technological history – a history of the techniques by which humans adapt to, exploit and make use of the resources of their environment

   8. Natural history – is a geographic history of how humans discover and adapt to the ecological understandings of their natural environment

   9. Material history – as shown in the study of artifacts as correlates of human changes in behaviour.

Archeology can provide assistance in 3,4,6,7,8,9. Conventional “Biblical” textual history can provide assistance in 1,2, 3 and 5.

Israelites According to the Bible, the Israelites were the dominant group living in the Land of Israel from the time of the conquest of the territory by Joshua until they were conquered by the Babylonians in c.586 BCE and taken into exile. They were divided in twelve tribes, each claiming descent from one of twelve sons and grandsons of Jacob.

The term Israelite derives from Israel the name given to the biblical Patriarch Jacob after he struggled with God and man and prevailed( Genesis 32:28-29). His descendants are called the House of Jacob, the Children of Israel, the People of Israel, or the Israelites.

The Hebrew Bible is mainly concerned with the Israelites. According to it, the Land of Israel was promised to them by God. Jerusalem was their capital and the site of the temple at the center of their faith.

The Israelites became a major political power with the United Monarchy of Kings Saul, David and Solomon, from c. 1025 BCE. Zedekiah, king of Judah (597-586 BCE), is considered the last king from the house of David.

The term Israelites is the English term, first adopted in the King James translation of the Bible, to describe the ancient people directly descended from the Biblical patriarch Jacob (who was renamed as Israel; Genesis 32:29). It is a translation of the Hebrew Bnei Yisrael (literally "Sons of Israel", also translated "Children of Israel"). The singular "Israelite" is typically a translation of the adjective Yisraeli which in Biblical Hebrew refers to a member of the Bnei Yisrael (e.g Leviticus 24:10). Other Biblical names for this patriarchal clan include "Daughters of Israel", "House of Jacob" or, following the death of Jacob, simply "Israel".

"Israelites" as used in the Bible includes both descendants of Jacob who followed the Jewish faith as well as apostates who turned to other gods. In contrast the term Jew is used in English for members of the Jewish faith, regardless of the historical period or ancestry.

In modern Hebrew Bnei Yisrael can denote the Jewish people at any time in history and is typically used to emphasize Jewish religious identity and thus does not include apostates. The adjective Yisraeli is used in modern Hebrew for any citizen of the modern State of Israel, regardless of religion or ethnicity and translated into English as "Israeli".

Another term is Hebrews which typically refers to the same people as the Israelites. They gave their name to Hebrew, the language of Israelites, Jews and the State of Israel.

It should be noted that these three words, Israelites, Hebrews and Jews, are historically related and often used (incorrectly) as synonyms. "Israelites" and "Hebrews" are occasionally used in English as synonyms for Jews.


Jacob  Jacob (Hebrew"holds the heel" ),
also known as Israel  ("Struggled with God"),

Jacob is the third Biblical Patriarch. Jacob was the son of Isaac with Rebekah, the twin brother of Esau, and grandson of Abraham. Jacob played a major part in some of the later events in the Book of Genesis.

Jacob had twelve sons and one daughter by his two wives, Leah and Rachel, and his two concubines, Bilhah and Zilpah. He was the forefather of the twelve tribes of Israel. His sons were Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin and the daughter was Dinah.


The Jahwist, also referred to as the Jehovist, Yahwist, or simply as J, is one of the four major sources of the Torah postulated by the Documentary Hypothesis (DH). It is the oldest source, whose narratives make up half of Genesis and the first half of Exodus, plus fragments of Numbers. J describes a human-like God, called Yahweh (or rather YHWH) throughout, and has a special interest in the territory of the Kingdom of Judah and individuals connected with its history. J was composed c 950 BC and later incorporated into the Torah (c 400 BC)

James the Just  See Saint James the Just

James the Less  In the New Testament, James appears only in connection with his mother Mary of Clopas in Mark 15:40, Mark 16:1, Matthew 27:56. In Mark 15:40 and Matthew 27:56 he is accompanied by a brother called Joses or Joseph.

James the Less is almost universally identified with James, son of Alphaeus, one of the Twelve Apostles. He is also sometimes identified with James the Just.

He is also labelled "the minor", "the little", "the lesser", or "the younger", according to translation.

For more information on these possible identities, see James, son of Alphaeus.

James, son of Alphaeus was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus of Nazareth. He is often identified with James the Less and commonly known by that name in church tradition.

James, the son of Alphaeus, is rarely mentioned in the New Testament, but he is sometimes identified with James the Just, an important leader in the New Testament church. He is clearly distinguished from James, son of Zebedee, another one of the Twelve Apostles.

James, son of Alphaeus, only appears four times in the New Testament, each time in a list of the twelve apostles

Possible identity with James the Less

James, son of Alphaeus is often identified with James the Less, who is only mentioned three times, each time in connection with his mother. Mark 15:40 refers to "Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses", while Mark 16:1 and Matthew 27:56 refer to "Mary the mother of James".

Since there was already a more prominent James (James, son of Zebedee) among the twelve apostles, equating James son of Alphaeus with James the Less made sense. (James son of Zebedee was sometimes called "James the Greater"). However, it also made it imperative to identify Clopas, the husband of Mary, with Alphaeus, the father of the Apostle James. (For the argument on this, see Alphaeus.) This identification was accepted by early church leaders and, therefore, tradition knows him more commonly as Saint James the Less.

Modern Biblical scholars are divided on whether this identification is correct. John Paul Meier finds it unlikely. Amongst evangelicals, the New Bible Dictionary supports the traditional identification,[6] while Don Carson and Darrell Bock both regard the identification as possible, but not certain.

Possible identity with James, the brother of Jesus

James, son of Alphaeus, has also been identified with James, the brother of Jesus. This was supported by Jerome and therefore widely accepted in the Roman Catholic Church, while the Eastern Orthodox and Protestant tend to distinguish between the two.

Possible brother of Matthew

Another Alphaeus is also the name of the father of the publican Levi mentioned in Mark 2:14. The publican appears as Matthew in Matthew 9:9, which has led some to conclude that James and Matthew might have been brothers. However, there is no Biblical account of the two being called brothers, even when they appear side by side in the synoptic list of the Twelve Apostles, next to the fraternal pairs of Peter and Andrew and the sons of Zebedee.


A tradition holds that Saint James, though strongly clinging to Jewish law, was sentenced to death for having violated the Torah. This however, is highly unlikely as the Jewish authorities did not practice crucifixion, and unless a possible rebellion was at hand, the Roman authority would not involve themselves in Jewish religious affairs. He is reported to have been martyred by crucifixion at Ostrakine in Lower Egypt, where he was preaching the Gospel. A carpenter's saw is the symbol associated with him in Christian art because it is also noted that his body was later sawed to pieces.

James, son of Zebedee 
Born: 1st century
Died: 44 AD, Judea, beheaded

Saint James, son of Zebedee (d. 44) or Yaakov Ben-Zebdi/Bar-Zebdi, was one of the disciples of Jesus. He was a son of Zebedee and Salome, and brother of John the Apostle. He is called Saint James the Greater to distinguish him from James, son of Alphaeus, who is also known as James the Less. James is described as one of the first disciples to join Jesus. The Synoptic Gospels state that James and John were with their father by the seashore when Jesus called them to follow him. According to the Gospel of Mark, James and John were called Boanerges, or the "Sons of Thunder".James was one of only three apostles whom Jesus selected to bear witness to his Transfiguration Acts of the Apostles records that Agrippa I had James executed by sword, making him the first of the apostles to be martyred

Japheth   one of the sons of Noah in the Bible. In Arabic citations, his name is normally given as Yafeth ibn Nuh (Japheth son of Noah).

Jehoshuah  See Joshua

Jehovah  also Yehowah, is an English reading of  , the most frequent form of the Tetragrammaton , the principal and personal name of God in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament).

It is a direct phonetic transliteration based on the Hebrew Bible text with vowel points handed down by the Masoretes. By long tradition, in modern Jewish culture the Tetragrammaton is not pronounced. Instead the above vocalization indicates to the reverent Jewish reader that the term Adonai is to be used. In places where the preceding or following word already is Adonai, the reading Elohim is used instead, indicated by a different vocalization of the Tetragrammaton. It is generally refered, in line with the Jewish tradition, that (Jehovah) is a "hybrid form", created when the Masoretes added the vowel pointing of Adonai to the consonants of YHWH. Early English translators, thought to have been unacquainted with Jewish tradition, read this word as they would any other word, and transcribed it (in very few places, namely those where the Name itself was referred to) as Jehovah.

The form thus achieved wide currency in the translations of the Protestant Reformation, though it was already in use by Roman Catholic authors. As an Adonist Hebraist, John Drusius critiqued this form of God's name in 1604 A.D., and later regarded by both Jews and some Christians as a mispronunciation, it has nevertheless found a place in Christian liturgical and theological usage. It is the regular English rendition of in the American Standard Version, and occurs seven times in the King James Version. It is also used in Christian hymns such as "Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah".

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 8, 1910 edition, page 329, states: "Jehovah, the proper name of God in the Old Testament."

The name Jehovah is used by Jehovah's Witnesses as the personal name of God. They give the following position:

The truth is, nobody knows for sure how the name of God was originally pronounced. Nevertheless, many prefer the pronunciation Jehovah. Why? Because it has a currency and familiarity that Yahweh does not have. Would it not, though, be better to use the form that might be closer to the original pronunciation? Not really, for that is not the custom with Bible names. To take the most prominent example,consider the name of Jesus. Do you know how Jesus' family and friends addressed him in day-to-day conversation while he was growing up in Nazareth? The truth is, no human knows for certain, although it may have been something like Yeshua (or perhaps Yehoshua). It certainly was not Jesus.)

Some however question the received view that the vowels of Jehovah originate with the word Adonai rather than an ancient pronunciation of YHWH. They note that details of vocalization differ between the various early extant manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible, and note that the vowel points of Jehovah and Adonai are not precisely the same, and that scholars are not in total agreement as to why this should be.

Jehovahs Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses  

Jehovah's Witnesses is a restorationist, millenialist Christian religious movement. Sociologists of religion have classified the group as an Adventist sect. The religion emerged from the Bible Student Movement, founded in the late 19th century by Charles Taze Russell. It underwent significant changes between 1917 and the 1940s as its authority structure was centralized and its preaching methods brought under greater regimentation. The religion today claims an active worldwide membership of approximately 7 million.

They are most well-known for their door-to-door preaching, and their refusal of military service and blood transfusions. The religion's stance of conscientious objection to military service has brought it into conflict with governments that conscript citizens for military service, and activities of Jehovah's Witnesses have subsequently been banned in some countries. The refusal of Jehovah's Witnesses to accept blood transfusions has necessitated advances in the medical practice of bloodless surgery.

Since 1876, adherents have believed that they are living in the last days of the present world. In the years leading up to 1925 and 1975, the religion's publications expressed strong expectations that Armageddon would occur in those years, both times resulting in surges in membership and subsequent defections.

The organization's teachings and practices diverge greatly from traditional Christian theology, which has caused several major Christian denominations to denounce the group as either a cult or heretical sect. Medical ethicists have criticized Jehovah's Witnesses as an authoritarian group that coerces members to obey doctrines including the ban on blood transfusions. Former adherents have claimed that the religion demands unquestioning obedience from members, with the consequence of expulsion and shunning facing any who fail to comply with, express doubts about, or disagree with its doctrines

Jeremiah  (Hebrew: Standard Yirm ya-hu- frequently misspelled as Yirmiyahu "Jehovah will raise" Tiberian ) was one of the 'greater prophets' of the Hebrew Bible. He was the son of Hilkiah, a priest of Anathoth.

His writings are collected in the Book of Jeremiah and, according to tradition, the Book of Lamentations. Jeremiah is also famous as "the broken-hearted prophet" (who wrote or dictated a "broken-hearted book", which has been difficult for scholars to put into chronological order), whose heart-rending life, and true prophecies of dire warning went largely unheeded by the people of Israel. God told Jeremiah, "You will go to them; but for their part, they will not listen to you".

Born: c. 340-347, Stridon, on the border of Dalmatia and Pannonia
Died: 420, Bethlehem, Judea

 (c. 347 - September 30, 420) (Latin: Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus)

Saint Jerome was a Christian priest  and Christian apologist best known for translating the Vulgate. He is recognized by the Catholic Church as a canonized saint and Doctor of the Church, and his version of the Bible is still an important text in Catholicism. He is also recognized as a saint by the Eastern Orthodox Church, where he is known as St Jerome of Stridonium or Blessed Jerome. He is presumed by some to have been an Illyrian, but this may just be conjecture.

In the Catholic Church, it has been usual to represent him (the patron of theological learning) anachronistically, as a cardinal, by the side of Saint Augustine of Hippo, Ambrose, and Pope Gregory I. Even when he is depicted as a half-clad anchorite, with cross, skull and Bible for the only furniture of his cell, the red hat or some other indication of his rank as cardinal is as a rule introduced somewhere in the picture. He is also often depicted with a lion, due to a medieval story in which he removed a thorn from a lion's paw, and less often with an owl, the symbol of wisdom and scholarship. Writing materials and the trumpet of final judgment are also part of his iconography. He is commemorated on 30 September with a memorial.

Jericho  Ancient city on the plain north of the Dead Sea and due north of Qumran.

Jerusalem  Ancient city, center of Palestinian and Judaean history and culture. City of the Temple of Solomon and many other well known structures. Center of Jewish, Islamic and Christian religious history and culture.

Jesse  Jesse or Yishay (Hebrew: Yee-šhay, meaning "God (Yahweh) Exists" or "God's gift") is the father of the Biblical David, who became the king of the nation of Israel. His son David is sometimes called simply "Son of Jesse" (ben yishay).

Jesse was the son of Obed and he was the grandson of Ruth. He was a Bethlehemite.

Jesse is important in Judaism because he was the father of one of the most famous kings of Israel. Jesse is important in Christianity because, in part, he is mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus Christ.

Jesus  "Jesus" is Greek for the Hebrew name "Yeshua," which is a short version of "Yehoshua," which comes from "Yoshia," which means "He will save."

Jesus Christ  See Jesus

Jesus in Islam (Arabic: Isa)

 Jesus in Islam  is a messenger of God who had been sent to guide the Children of Israel with a new scripture, the Injil (gospel). The Qur'an, believed by Muslims to be God's final revelation, states that Jesus was born to Mary (Arabic: Maryam) as the result of virginal conception, a miraculous event which occurred by the decree of God (Arabic: Allah). To aid him in his quest, Jesus was given the ability to perform miracles, all by the permission of God. According to Islamic texts, Jesus was neither killed nor crucified, but rather he was raised alive up to heaven. Islamic traditions narrate that he will return to earth near the day of judgment to restore justice and defeat ("the false messiah", also known as the Antichrist). Like all prophets in Islam, Jesus is considered to have been a Muslim, as he preached for people to adopt the straight path in submission to God's will. Islam rejects that Jesus was God incarnate or the son of God, stating that he was an ordinary man who, like other prophets, had been divinely chosen to spread God's message. Islamic texts forbid the association of partners with God (shirk), emphasizing the notion of God's divine oneness (tawhid). Numerous titles are given to Jesus in the Qur'an, such as al-Masi? ("the messiah; the anointed one" i.e. by means of blessings), although it does not correspond with the meaning accrued in Christian belief. Jesus is seen in Islam as a precursor to Muhammad, and is believed by Muslims to have foretold the latter's coming.

Jew  (Hebrew: Yehudi (sl.);, Yehudim (pl.); Ladino: , Djudio (sl.); , Djudios (pl.); Yiddish: Yid (sl.); , Yidn (pl.))

A Jew  is a member of the Jewish people, an ethnoreligious group originating from the Israelites or Hebrews of the ancient Middle East. The Jewish people and the religion of Judaism are strongly interrelated, and converts to Judaism have been absorbed into the Jewish community throughout the millennia.

By traditional accounts, Jewish history began during the second millennium BCE with the Biblical patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The Jews enjoyed two periods of political autonomy in their national homeland, the Land of Israel, during ancient history. The first era spanned from 1350 to 586 BCE, and encompassed the periods of the Judges, the United Monarchy, and the Divided Monarchy of the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah, ending with the destruction of the First Temple. The second era was the period of the Hasmonean Kingdom spanning from 140 to 37 BCE. Since the destruction of the First Temple, the diaspora has been the home of most of the world's Jews. Except in the modern State of Israel, established in 1948, Jews are a minority in every country in which they live and they have frequently experienced persecution throughout history, resulting in a population that fluctuated both in numbers and distribution over the centuries.

According to the Jewish Agency, as of 2007 there were 13.2 million Jews worldwide, 5.3 million of whom lived in Israel, 5.3 million in the United States, and the remainder distributed in communities of varying sizes around the world; this represents 0.2% of the current estimated world population. These numbers include all those who consider themselves Jews whether or not affiliated with a Jewish organization, and, with the exception of Israel's Jewish population, do not include those who do not consider themselves Jews or who are not Jewish by halakha (Jewish religious law). The total world Jewish population, however, is difficult to measure. In addition to halakhic considerations, there are secular, political, and ancestral identification factors in defining who is a Jew that increase the figure considerably.

"Who is a Jew?" is a basic question about Jewish identity. The question has gained particular prominence in connection with several high-profile legal cases in Israel since the founding of the Jewish state in 1948.

The definition of who is a Jew varies according to whether it is being considered by Jews for self-identification or by non-Jews for their own particular purposes. As Jewish identity can include characteristics of an ethnicity and of a religion, the definition of who is a Jew has varied, depending on whether a religious, sociological, or ethnic aspect was being considered. This article is concerned with Jewish self-identification issues.

According to the simplest definition used by Jews for self-identification, a person is a Jew by birth, or becomes one through religious conversion. However, there are differences of opinion among the various branches of Judaism in the application of this definition, including:

  • Mixed parentage: i.e. whether a person of mixed Jewish and non-Jewish parentage should be considered Jewish.

  • Conversion: i.e. what process of religious conversion should be considered valid.
  • Life circumstances issues: i.e. whether a person's actions (such as conversion to a different religion) or circumstances in their lives (such as being unaware of Jewish parentage) should affect their Jewish status.

Jewish ethnic divisions  

The most commonly used terms to describe ethnic divisions among Jews presently are: Ashkenazi (meaning "German" in Hebrew, denoting the Central European base of Jewry); and Sephardi (meaning "Spanish" in Hebrew, denoting their Spanish and North African location). They refer to both religious and ethnic divisions. (Some scholars hold that Ashkenazi Jews are descendants of those who originally followed the Palestinian Jewish religious tradition, and Sephardic Jews are descendants of those who originally followed the Babylonian religious tradition.)

Jews have historically been divided into four major ethnic groups: 

  1. Ashkenazim are Jews from Germany or Eastern Europe who later migrated elsewhere.

  2. Sephardim are Jews from Spain or Portugal. They were expelled in 1492 by Ferdinand and Isabella and migrated to North Africa, the Mediterranean, Latin America, Holland, and other parts of Europe.

  3. Oriental or "Mizrahi" Jews (edut hamizrach in Hebrew are Jews from the Middle East with some spreading to Central Asia and South Asia). (Note: In modern common usage, most Oriental Jews are now referred to as Sephardic, as the religious rites of Oriental and Sephardic Jews are similar.)

  4. Yemenite Jews are Oriental Jews whose geographical and social isolation from the rest of the Jewish community allowed them to develop a liturgy and set of practices sufficiently distinct from other Oriental Jewish groups so as to be recognized as a different group.

Of these communities, the largest by far are the Ashkenazim, comprising approximately 70 percent of the Jewish total, with Oriental Jews comprising most of the remainder. Many Sephardim live in France (the majority of French Jews are Sephardic), Eastern Europe and Central Asia (small numbers), and the United States (a very small number), but most are in Israel (about 50 percent of Israelis), where they have created their own large ethnic political party called Shas guided by rabbis such as Ovadia Yosef. (Note that not all Sephardim belong to or support Shas.)

Note: In Israel, Jews with origins in Western (Christian) countries are called Ashkenazi though many are not. The Jews of Italy are Bené Roma; the Georgian are Gruzim; the Greek are Romaniotes; and many of the Dutch, Bulgarian, and Latin American are Sephardic. These groups claim distinct cultures and histories.

Those with origins in Muslim and Arab lands are commonly called Sephardi though many are not. The Jews of Iran and Iraq are Mizrahi and the Yemenite and Omani are Temani. None of these groups include the Beta Israel of Ethiopia who were brought to Israel during Operation Solomon and Operation Moses, as well as other groups.

Smaller groups

These groups are described in terms of their historic geography; significant numbers of these Jews live today in Israel.

  • Gruzim are Georgian-speaking Jews from Georgia in the Caucasus. 

  • Juhurim are mountain Jews mainly from Daghestan in the eastern Caucasus.
  • Bene Israel are the Jews of Mumbai, India. 
  • Cochin Jews are also Indian Jews. 
  • Romaniotes are Greek-speaking Jews from the Balkans that lived there from the Hellenistic era until today.
  • Ethiopian Jews and various other small African Jewish populations are also found.
  • Bukharan Jews are Jews from Central Asia. They get their name from the Uzbek city of Bukhara, which once had a large community.
  • Baghdadi Jews  Those Jews came from Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Arab countries and settled in India in 18th Century.
  • Bnei Menashe. A group of Jews living in Manipur and Mizoram in northeastern India, claiming descent from the dispersed Biblical Tribe of Menasseh.
  • Krymchaks and Karaim are Turkic-speaking Jews of the Crimea and Eastern Europe. The Krymchaks practice rabbinical Judaism, while the Karaim are Karaites. Whether they are primarily the descendents of Israelite Jews who adopted Turkic language and culture, or the descendents of Turkic converts to Judaism, is still debated.
  • Kaifeng Jews - An ancient Jewish community in China, descended from merchants living in China from at least the era of the Tang dynasty. Today functionally extinct, yet descendents are beginning to explore and reclaim their heritage.

These smaller groups number in the thousands or tens of thousands, with the Gruzim being most numerous at about 100,000. Many members of these groups have now emigrated from their traditional homelands, largely to Israel. For example, only about 10 percent of the Gruzim remain in Georgia.

Jewish canon  Rabbinic Judaism recognizes the twenty-four books of the Masoretic Text, commonly called the Tanakh or Hebrew Bible. Evidence suggests that the process of canonization occurred between 200 BCE and 200 CE, indeed a popular position is that the Torah was canonized circa 400 BCE, the Prophets circa 200 BCE, and the Writings circa 100 CE perhaps at a hypothetical Council of Jamnia—however this position is increasingly criticised by modern scholars. The book of Deuteronomy includes a prohibition against adding or subtracting (4:2, 12:32) which might apply to the book itself (i.e. a closed book, a prohibition against future scribal editing) or to the instruction received by Moses on Mt. Sinai. The book of 2 Maccabees, itself not a part of the Jewish canon, describes Nehemiah (around 400 BCE) as having "founded a library and collected books about the kings and prophets, and the writings of David, and letters of kings about votive offerings" (2:13-15). The Book of Nehemiah suggests that the priest-scribe Ezra brought the Torah back from Babylon to Jerusalem and the Second Temple (8-9) around the same time period. Both I and II Maccabees suggest that Judas Maccabeus (around 167 BCE) likewise collected sacred books (3:42-50, 2:13-15, 15:6-9), indeed some scholars argue that the Jewish canon was fixed by the Hasmonean dynasty. However, these primary sources do not suggest that the canon was at that time closed; moreover, it is not clear that these sacred books were identical to those that later became part of the canon. Today, there is no scholarly consensus as to when the Jewish canon was set.

Also see Canon

JHVH or JHWH    Variants of YHWH.

JHWH  or JHVH   Variants of YHWH.

Joktan   or Yoktan  Joktan was the second of the two sons of Eber (Gen. 10:25; 1 Chr. 1:19) mentioned in the Hebrew Bible.

There is an Arab tradition that Joktan (Arabic: Kahtan) was the progenitor of all the main tribes of Central and Southern Arabia. There are thirteen children of Joktan : Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, Obal, Abimael, Sheba (not in Arabia), Havilah (not in Arabia), Jobab (described in Chinese name books), and Ophir (not in Arabia). Seven of them are said to be each the founder of an Arabian tribe.

Jordan    officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, is an Arab country in Southwest Asia spanning the southern part of the Syrian Desert down to the Gulf of Aqaba. It shares borders with Syria to the north, Iraq to the north-east, Israel and the Palestinian territories to the west, and Saudi Arabia to the east and south. It shares control of the Dead Sea with Israel, and the coastline of the Gulf of Aqaba with Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. Much of Jordan is covered by desert, particularly the Arabian Desert; however the north-western area, with the sacred Jordan River, is regarded as part of the Fertile Crescent. The capital city of Amman is in the north-west.

Jordan has a rich history; its location in the central Middle East has long made it a prized possession. During its long history, Jordan has seen numerous civilisations, including such ancient eastern civilisations as the Sumerian, Akkadian, Babylonian, Assyrian, Mesopotamian, and Persian empires. Jordan was for a time part of Pharaonic Egypt, and spawned the native Nabatean civilisation who left rich archaeological remains at Petra. Cultures from the west also left their mark, such as the Macedonian, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Turkish empires. Since the seventh century the area has been under Muslim and Arab cultures, with the exception of a brief period under British rule.

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a constitutional monarchy with representative government. The reigning monarch is the head of state, the chief executive and the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The king exercises his executive authority through the prime ministers and the Council of Ministers, or cabinet. The cabinet, meanwhile, is responsible before the elected House of Deputies which, along with the House of Notables (Senate), constitutes the legislative branch of the government. The judicial branch is an independent branch of the government.

Jordan River   a river in Southwest Asia which flows into the Dead Sea. Historically and religiously, it is considered to be one of the world's most sacred rivers. It is 251 kilometers (156 miles) long.

Jordan Valley (Middle East)

The Jordan Valley is a geographical region that forms part of the larger Jordan Rift Valley. It is 120 kilometers long and 15 kilometers wide, where it runs from the northern Dead Sea in the south to Lake Tiberias in the north. It runs for an additional 155 kilometer south of the Dead Sea to Aqaba - an area also known as Wadi Arabah or the Arava valley. It forms the border between Israel and Jordan in the north, and the eastern strip of the West Bank in the south.

Some 47,000 Palestinians live in the part of the valley that lies in the West Bank in about twenty permanent communities, among them the city of Jericho; thousands more, largely Bedouins, live in temporary communities.[1] About 11,000 Israelis live in 17 kibbutzim that form part of the Emek HaYarden Regional Council in Israel.[2] An additional 7,500 live in twenty-six Israeli settlements and five Nahal brigade encampments that have been established in the part of the Jordan Valley that lies in the West Bank since the 1970s.[1] The Jordanian population of the valley is over 85,000 people,[3] most of whom are farmers, and 80% of the farms in the Jordanian part of the valley are family farms no larger than 30 dunams in size

Joshua  Joshua, Jehoshuah or Yehoshua

born in Egypt, was a biblical Israelite leader who succeeded Moses. His story is told in the Hebrew Bible, chiefly in the books Exodus, Numbers and Joshua. He was one of the twelve spies sent on by Moses to explore the land of Canaan who would later lead the conquest of that land, the Bible's Promised Land.

Judaea  Southern region of ancient Palestine. Like Galilee is was a region of dense Jewish settlement during the intertestamental period. Qumran lies in a barren area within the Judaean Desert known as the Judaean Wilderness.

Judaean wilderness or desert  The low-lying steppeland of Judaea west of the Dead Sea and east of the Central hill country, or simply south of Jerusalem and west of the Dead Sea. It is an arid region with some springs and a fair amount of rain in the winter.

Judah   ("Celebrated, praised")

 Judah is the name of several Biblical and historical figures. The original Greek text of the New Testament makes no difference between the names "Judah", "Judas" and "Jude", rendering them all as Ioudas; but in many English translations "Judah" is used for the figure in the Tanakh and the tribe named after him, "Judas" is used primarily for Judas Iscariot, and "Jude" for other New Testament persons of the same name.

The Bible itself mentions no other people of the name, except the original one; however, it became a very common name among Jews in Hellenistic times and remains such up to the present.

The name Judah can refer to:

Judah (Bible), one of the sons of the Biblical patriarch Jacob (Israel)

All later individuals, groups and places of this name are directly or indirectly derived from this Judah.

Judah Bible  Judah/Yehuda was, according to the Book of Genesis, the fourth son of Jacob and Leah, and the founder of the Israelite Tribe of Judah; however some Biblical scholars view this as postdiction, an eponymous metaphor providing an aetiology of the connectedness of the tribe to others in the Israelite confederation. With Leah as a matriarch, Biblical scholars regard the tribe as having been believed by the text's authors to have been part of the original Israelite confederation; however, it is worthy of note that the tribe of Judah was not purely Israelite, but contained a large admixture of non-Israelites, with a number of Kenizzite groups, the Jerahmeelites, and the Kenites, merging into the tribe at various points.

The text of the Torah argues that the name of Judah refers to Leah's intent to praise Yahweh, on account of having achieved four children, and derived from odeh, meaning I will give praise. In classical rabbinical literature, the name is interpreted as just being a combination of Yahweh and a dalet (the letter d); in Gematria, the dalet has the numerical value 4, which these rabbinical sources argue refers to Judah being Jacob's fourth son

Judaism   (from the Greek Ioudaïsmos, derived from the Hebrew  Yehudah, "Judah"; in Hebrew: , Yahedut, the distinctive characteristics of the Judean eáqnov)

Judaism is a set of beliefs and practices originating from the saga of the ancient Israelites, as embodied and codified in the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh), as later further explored and explained in the Talmud and other texts. Judaism presents itself as the covenental relationship between the Children of Israel (later, the Jewish nation) and God. As such, many consider it the first monotheistic religion although many aspects of Judaism correspond to Western concepts of ethics and civil law. Judaism is among the oldest religious traditions still being practised today, and many of its texts and traditions are central to other Abrahamic religions. As such, Jewish history and the principles and ethics of Judaism have influenced various other religions, including Christianity and Islam.

Followers of Judaism are called Jews, and while Judaism is open to converts, the Jewish collective is regarded as an ethno-religious group, for reasons derived from the sacred texts that define them as a nation, rather than followers of a faith. In 2007, the world Jewish population was estimated at 13.2 million people, 41% of whom lived in Israel.

In modern Judaism, central authority is not vested in any single person or body, but in sacred texts, religious law, and learned Rabbis who interpret those texts and laws. According to Jewish tradition, Judaism begins with the Covenant between God and Abraham (ca. 2000 BCE), the patriarch and progenitor of the Jewish nation. Throughout the ages, Judaism has adhered to a number of religious principles, the most important of which is the belief in a single, omniscient, omnipotent, benevolent, transcendent God, who created the universe and continues to govern it. According to Jewish tradition, the God who created the world established a covenant with the Israelites and their descendants, and revealed his laws and commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai in the form of both the Written and Oral Torah. Judaism has traditionally valued Torah study and the observance of the commandments recorded in the Torah and as expounded in the Talmud.

Judas Iscariot   Judas Iscariot was, according to the New Testament, one of the twelve original Apostles of Jesus. Among the twelve, he was apparently designated to keep account of the "money bag",  but he is most traditionally known for his role in Jesus' betrayal into the hands of Roman authorities.

His name is also associated with a Gnostic gospel, the Gospel of Judas, that exists in an early fourth century Coptic text. Judas has been a figure of great interest to esoteric groups, such as many Gnostic sects, and has also been the subject of many philosophical writings, including The Problem of Natural Evil by Bertrand Russell and "Three Versions of Judas", a short story by Jorge Luis Borges.

The term Judas has entered many languages as a synonym for betrayer, and Judas has become the archetype of the betrayer in Western art and literature. Judas is given some role in virtually all literature telling the Passion story, and appears in a number of modern novels and movies. Some scholars however have suggested that Judas was merely the negotiator who gave Jesus to the Roman authorities by mutual agreement or acted with Jesus' knowledge and consent to ensure the re-enactment of Biblical prophecy[citation needed]. Others see Judas as a literary invention reflecting divisions among early Christians or an attempt by Biblical authors to distance themselves from Judaism after the first First Jewish-Roman War.

Justin Martyr  Saint Justin Martyr (also Justin the Martyr, Justin of Caesarea, Justin the Philosopher, Latin Iustinus Martyr or Flavius Iustinus) (100-165) was an early Christian apologist and saint. His works represent the earliest surviving Christian "apologies" of notable size.


Karaite Judaism  Karaite Judaism or Karaism is a Jewish movement characterized by the recognition of the Tanakh as its scripture, and the rejection of Rabbinic Judaism and the Oral Law (the Mishnah and the Talmud) as binding. The movement crystallized in Baghdad, in present day Iraq.

When interpreting the Tanakh, Karaites strive to adhere to the plain meaning (p'shat) of the text. This is in contrast to Rabbinical Judaism, which employs the methods of p'shat, remez (implication or clue), drash ("deep interpretation," based on breaking down individual words, e.g., breaking down "be'ra'shit" to "beit" "ra'shit", which means two startings of) and sod ("secret," the deeper meaning of the text, drawing on the Kabbalah). In modern times Karaite Judaism has formed its own independent Jewish organization, and is not a member of any Rabbinic organization.

At one time Karaites were a significant portion of the Jewish population .

Kethubim  See Ketuvim

Ketuvim  Ketuvim is the third and final section of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible), after Torah and Nevi'im.The Hebrew word (ketuvim) means "writings." In English translations of the Hebrew Bible, this section is usually entitled "Writings" or "Hagiographa."In the Jewish textual tradition, Chronicles is counted as one book.  Ezra and Nehemiah are also counted together as a single book called "Ezra." Thus, there is a total of eleven books in the section called Ketuvim

Khirbet  A ruin or destroyed place; Khirbet Qumran = "ruin of Qumran."

King David  See King David here

Kingdom of God   "Kingdom of Heaven" 

The Kingdom of God or Reign of God is a foundational concept in the three Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

The phrase occurs in the New Testament more than 100 times, not at all in the Hebrew Bible and only once in the deuterocanonical/apocryphal Wisdom of Solomon (10:10) and is defined almost entirely by parable. According to Jesus, the Kingdom of God is within (or among) people, is approached through understanding, and entered through acceptance like a child, spiritual rebirth, and doing the will of God. It is a kingdom peopled by the righteous and is not the only kingdom

Kingdom of Israel  (KJV Israel in Samaria)

The Kingdom of Israel  was one of the successor states to the older United Monarchy (also often called the 'Kingdom of Israel'). It existed roughly from the 930s BC until about the 720s BC. This article follows its history until its destruction by the Assyrian Empire, and considers the fate of its population and territory following its destruction. Capital cities (in order): Shechem, Tirza, and Shomron (Samaria).

Historians often refer to ancient Israel as the Northern Kingdom to differentiate it from the Southern Kingdom of Judah. The Hebrew Scriptures sometimes referred to the separate kingdom idiomatically as the "House of Joseph" n order to distinguish it principally from the "House of Judah"

Kingdom of Judah  ("The praised one")  (c.930-586 BCE)

The Kingdom of Judah was one of the successor states to the "United Monarchy" often known as the Kingdom of Israel. It is often referred to as the Southern Kingdom to distinguish it from the Northern Kingdom (of Israel).

According to the Hebrew Bible, the Kingdom of Judah first emerged after the death of Saul the King, when the tribe of Judah elevated King David to rule over them. The area of Har Yehudah (=the mountain (district) of the gorge(s)) seems to have originally been occupied by Kenites, Calebites, Othnielites, and in Jerusalem Jebusites. The tribe of Judah was Biblically initially the only one of the Twelve Tribes of Israel to follow the house of David to found the Southern Kingdom.

Soon after, the tribe of Benjamin joined the tribe of Judah. According to the 2 Samuel (5:6&7), Jerusalem became the capital of the new kingdom.

After the death of Saul's son Ish-bosheth, David came to rule the other tribes of Israel, creating a united Kingdom of Israel. David's grandson Rehoboam was rejected by ten of the twelve Tribes of Israel during the disruption at Shechem, leaving only the Kingdom of Judah ruled by the Davidic line. The Northern Kingdom fell to the Assyrian Empire c. 720 BCE but the Kingdom of Judah survived until it was conquered in 586 BCE by the Babylonian Empire under Nebuzar-adan, captain of Nebuchadnezzar's body-guard.(2 Kings 25:8-21). This event coincided with the destruction of the First Temple of Jerusalem and with the Babylonian Captivity.

King James Version  The Authorized King James Version is an English translation of the Christian Bible begun in 1604 and first published in 1611 by the Church of England. The Great Bible was the first "authorized version" issued by the Church of England in the reign of King Henry VIII. In January 1604, King James I of England convened the Hampton Court Conference where a new English version was conceived in response to the perceived problems of the earlier translations as detected by the Puritans, a faction within the Church of England.

The king gave the translators instructions designed to guarantee that the new version would conform to the ecclesiology and reflect the episcopal structure of the Church of England and its beliefs about an ordained clergy. The translation was by 47 scholars, all of whom were members of the Church of England. In common with most other translations of the period, the New Testament was translated from the Textus Receptus (Received Text) series of the Greek texts. The Old Testament was translated from the Masoretic Hebrew text, while the Apocrypha were translated from the Greek Septuagint (LXX), except for 2 Esdras, which was translated from the Latin Vulgate.

While the Authorized Version was meant to replace the Bishops' Bible as the official version for readings in the Church of England, it was apparently (unlike the Great Bible) never specifically "authorized", although it is commonly known as the Authorized Version in the United Kingdom. However, the King's Printer issued no further editions of the Bishops' Bible; so necessarily the Authorized Version supplanted it as the standard lectern Bible in parish church use in England. In the Book of Common Prayer (1662), the text of the Authorized Version replaced the text of the Great Bible - the Epistle and Gospel readings - and as such was "authorized" by Act of Parliament. In the United States, the Authorized Version is known as the King James Version. The earliest appearance in print of the phrase "authorized version", to mean this particular version of the bible, was published in 1824. The phrase 'King James version' first appeared in print in 1884.

By the first half of the 18th Century, the Authorized Version was effectively unchallenged as the sole English translation in current use in Protestant churches. Over the course of the 18th Century, the Authorized Version supplanted the Latin Vulgate as the standard version of scripture for English speaking scholars.

In most of the world, the Authorized Version has passed out of copyright and is freely reproduced. In the United Kingdom, the British Crown holds perpetual Crown copyright to the Authorized Version. Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, HarperCollins and the Queen's Printers have the right to produce the Authorized Version.

Kittim  The name referred originally to inhabitants of Kiti, capital of the isle of Cyprus, then to any Cypriots, later to Greeks, in general, and eventually even to Romans.

KJV  See King James Version

kodrantes  A kodrantes is a small coin worth one half of an Attic chalcus or two lepta. It is worth less than 2% of a day's wages for an agricultural laborer.


Lake Asphaltitus (Dead Sea)  Bahr Lut. Asphaltitis is the Greek name for Dead Sea. In Scripture it is called the Salt Sea (Gen 14:3; Num 34:12; etc.), the Sea of the Arabah (Deut 3:17; 4:49; etc.), Eastern Sea (Ezek 47:18; Joel 2:20; Zech 14:8). The name Dead Sea has been applied to it since the 2nd cent AD, and it was also called the Asphalt Sea by early writers or Lake Asphaltitis.

The Dead Sea lies in the S end of the Jordan Valley, occupying the 53 deepest miles in Israel, with an average breadth of 10 miles. The surface is 1,290 feet below the level of the Mediterranean which makes it the lowest dry point on earth, the bottom is just as deep. It is situated between steep, rocky cliffs and is fed by the Jordan and 4 or 5 smaller streams, which pour into it millions of tons of water per day. It has no outlet but is relieved by evaporation, often so great as to form a very heavy vapor. This evaporation causes the bitterness of the sea. The streams that feed it are unusually saline, flowing through nitrous soil and fed by sulfurous springs.

Chemicals have been found in the waters of the sea, probably introduced by hot springs in the sea bottom. Along the shores are deposits of sulfur and petroleum springs making the surrounding strata rich in bituminous matter. At the SE end a ridge of rock salt three hundred feet high runs for five miles, and the bed of the sea appears to be covered with salt crystals. The water of the ocean contains from 4 to 6 percent of solids in solution, the Dead Sea holds from 30 to 33 percent. The water is nauseating to the taste and oily to the touch, leaving upon the skin, when it dries, a thick crust of salt. But it is very brilliant. Its buoyance is so great that it is difficult to sink the limbs deep enough for swimming.

To the E is the long range of Moab, at a 3000 feet above the shore, broken only by the great valley of the Arnon. On the W coast the hills touch the water at two points, but elsewhere leave between themselves and the sea the shore is sometimes 1 1/2 miles in breadth.

The prophet Ezekiel (Ezek 47:1-12) gives a wonderful vision of a stream of water issuing from the Temple and with increasing volume sweeping down to the Dead Sea and healing its bitter waters, "teaching that there is nothing too sunken, too useless, too doomed, but by the grace of God it may be redeemed, lifted, and made rich with life"

Land of Israel   The Land of Israel is the region which, according to the Hebrew Bible, was promised by God to the descendants of Abraham through his son Isaac and to the Israelites, descendants of Jacob, Abraham's grandson. It constitutes the Promised Land and forms part of the Abrahamic, Jacob and Israel covenants. Mainstream Jewish tradition regards the promise as applying to all Jews, including descendants of converts.

The term should not be confused officially with the State of Israel, which is a smaller modern political state within its Biblical and historical limits.

Since the Six Day War in 1967, the term and concept have been politicized and used to justify the policies of right wing Israeli political parties like the Likud. These groups have had more influence in Israeli governments since the 1977 elections.

Last Supper   In the Christian Gospels, the Last Supper (also called the Lord's Supper or Mystical Supper) was the last meal Jesus shared with his Twelve Apostles and disciples before his death. The Last Supper has been the subject of many paintings, perhaps the most famous by Leonardo da Vinci.

According to what Paul the Apostle recounted in 1 Corinthians 11:23–26, in the course of the Last Supper, and with specific reference to eating bread and drinking from a cup, Jesus told his disciples, "Do this in remembrance of me". Other events and dialogue are recorded in the Synoptic Gospels and the Gospel of John. Many Christians describe this as the "Institution of the Eucharist" (see Maundy Thursday).

The vessel which was used to serve the wine is sometimes called the Holy Chalice, and has been the one of the supposed subjects of Holy Grail literature in Christian mythology.

Leah  (Hebrew: "Weary; tired")

Leah  is the first of the four concurrent wives of the Hebrew Patriarch Jacob, and mother of six of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, along with one daughter. She is the daughter of Laban and the older sister of Rachel, whom Jacob originally wanted to marry. Leah is Jacob's first cousin, as her father Laban is the brother of Jacob's mother Rebecca.

lepta  Lepta are very small, brass, Jewish coins worth half a Roman quadrans each, which is worth a quarter of the copper assarion. Lepta are worth less than 1% of an agricultural worker's daily wages.

Levi   "joining"

 Levi was, according to the Book of Genesis, the third son of Jacob and Leah, and the founder of the Israelite Tribe of Levi (the levites).

The text of the Torah argues that the name of Levi refers to Leah's hope for Jacob to join with her, implying a derivation from yillaweh, meaning he will join.

Leviathan  Leviathan is a poetic name for a large aquatic creature, posssibly a crocodile or a dinosaur.


n the Jewish tradition, a Levite is a member of the Hebrew tribe of Levi. When Joshua led the Israelites into the land of Canaan, the Levites were the only Israelite tribe who received cities but no tribal land "because the Lord the God of Israel himself is their possession". The Tribe of Levi served particular religious duties for the Israelites and had political responsibilities as well. In return, the landed tribes were expected to give tithe to the Levites, particularly the tithe known as the Maaser Rishon or Levite Tithe.

Members of the Israelite tribe of Levi (one of the twelve ancient tribes of Israel) or their descendents. The Levites were responsible for the maintenance of the Temple and sacrificial system, and it was to this tribe that the Aaronic priests belonged.

Leviticus  (from Greek "relating to the Levites")

In Judaism it is third book of the Torah which are the five books of Moses, its transliteration is 'Vayikra'. In the Christian Bible it is also the third book of what is referred to as the Old Testament.

The Book of Leviticus is often described as a set of legal rules, and priestly rituals, but it is also seen as the central core of a larger narrative - the Torah or Pentateuch. In this view, Leviticus is about the outworking of God's covenant with Israel, set out in Genesis and Exodus - what is seen in the Torah as the consequences of entering into a special relationship with God. These consequences are spelt out in terms of community relationships and behaviour.

The first 16 chapters and the last chapter of the book describe the Priestly Code, detailing ritual cleanliness, sin-offerings, and the Day of Atonement, including Chapter 12 which mandates male circumcision. Chapters 17-26 describe the holiness code, including the injunction in chapter 19 to "love one's neighbor as oneself" (the Great Commandment). Among its many prohibitions, the book uses the word "abomination" 16 times, including dietary restrictions prohibiting shellfish, certain fowl, and "Whatsoever goeth upon the belly, and whatsoever goeth upon all four, or whatsoever hath more feet among all creeping things that creep upon the earth, them ye shall not eat; for they are an abomination"(chapter 11); and sexual restrictions, prohibiting adultery, incest, and lying "with mankind, as with womankind" (chapter 18, see also chapter 20); the book similarly prohibits eating pork and rabbits because they are "unclean animals." The rules in Leviticus are generally addressed to the descendants of Israel, except for example the prohibition in chapter 20 against sacrificing children to rival god Molech, which applies equally to "the strangers that sojourn in Israel", see also proselytes.

According to tradition, Moses authored Leviticus as well as the other four books of the Torah. According to the documentary hypothesis, Leviticus derives almost entirely from the priestly source (P), marked by emphasis on priestly concerns, composed c 550-400 BC, and incorporated into the Torah c 400 BC.

Lower Egypt  See Lower Egypt here





Maccabaeans  A priestly Jewish family which ruled Palestine in the second and first centuries BCE (164 - 67 BCE) and wrested Judaea from the rule of the Seleucids and their Greek practices. The Jewish holiday Hanukkah commemorates the Maccabees' recapture of Jerusalem and re-consecration of the Temple in December 164 BCE A name often used for the Hasmonaeans. The term derives from the surname of Judas Maccabeus, the early leader of the revolt against Antiochus Epiphanes.

Machaerus  Another Jewish fortress of ancient Palestine lying southeast of Qumran across the Dead Sea at a distance of only twenty kilometers. Qumran lies almost halfway, as the crow flies, between Jerusalem and Machaerus. This fortress was built or at least strengthened by the Hasmonaean Alexander Jannaeus after he subjugated Moab to the east of the Dead Sea sometime before 90 BCE. It was designated as a bulwark to fend off attacks by the Aramaic-speaking Nabataeans who occupied Petra and areas to the south. Destroyed by Gabinius, the governor of Syria, circa 60 BCE, it was rebuilt by Herod the Great, and his son Antipas murdered John the Baptist there.

Madaba map  A sixth century CE map of Palestine, forming the mosaic floor of a Byzantine church located in the ancient town of Madaba (Medeba) modern al-'Asimah, in what is now west-central Jordan. It preserves many important details of the geography of Roman and Byzantine Palestine.

Muhammad  "Muhammad" is a common male name for Muslims.  (also transliterated Mohammad, Mohammed, Muhammed, and formerly Mahomet, following the Latin)

Muhammad is revered by Muslims as the final prophet of God. According to his traditional Muslim biographies (called sirah in Arabic), he was born c. 570 in Mecca (or "Makkah") and died June 8, 632 in Medina (Madinah), both cities in northern Arabia. His name is Arabic for "he who is highly praised".

Pious Muslims consider that his work merely clarified and finalized the true religion, building on the work of other prophets of monotheism, and believe Islam to have existed before Muhammad. They will often give him the title Rasulu 'llah, "messenger of God", and follow his name in speech and in writing with the phrase sallallahu `alayhi wa s-salam, or, if using English, "peace be upon him".

Mahalath  Mahalath is the name of a tune or a musical term.

manna  Name for the food that God miraculously provided to the Israelites while they were wandering in the wilderness between Egypt and the promised land. From Hebrew man-hu (What is that?) or manan (to allot). See Exodus 16:14-35.

marriage  the union of a husband and a wife for the purpose of cohabitation, procreation, and to enjoy each other's company. God's plan for marriage is between one man and one woman (Mark 10:6-9; 1 Corinthians 7). Although there are many cases of a man marrying more than one woman in the Old Testament, being married to one wife is a requirement to serve in certain church leadership positions (1 Timothy 3:2,12; Titus 1:5-6).

Masada  Important Jewish fortress of ancient Palestine situated on a butte west of the Dead Sea; last stronghold of the 960 Jewish Zealots, including their wives and children, who volunteered to be killed or committed suicide, rather than surrender to the besieging Roman army at the end of the final battle of the revolt that marks the end of the Second Temple Period. Located thirty-three miles South of Qumran.

Maschil  Maschil is a musical and literary term for "contemplation" or "meditative psalm."

Massoretic  Relating to the Massorah, or "tradition," that body of early medieval notes on the textual traditions about the proper reading of the Hebrew Bible and to versions of it based on these traditions. The so-called "Masoretic Text", the standard version that appears in today's Hebrew Bible, is the version transmitted by the medieval Jewish scholars known as the Masoretes. They standardized the Hebrew text's punctuation, accentuation, and consonantal divisions. In the Middle Ages, the Ben Ezra Synagogue in Old Cairo (Fustat), also the former home of the now famous enizah archive collection obtained by Solomon Schechter, was the home of a Masoretic Bible manuscript vocalized by the tenth-century Masorete Aharon Ben Asher. The great Jewish scholar Maimonides declared it superior to the vocalizations of other Masoretes. So powerful was Maimonide's influence that Ben Asher's version became the standard text as it appears in today's Hebrew Bible. Ultimately Ben Asher's manuscript ended up in the possession of the Jewish community of Aleppo, Syria; today it is known as the Aleppe Codex and is kept in Jerusalem.

Martin Noth   (August 3, 1902 – May 30, 1968) was a German scholar of the Hebrew Bible who specialized in the pre-Exilic history of the Hebrews. With Gerhard von Rad he pioneered the traditional-historical approach to biblical studies, emphasising the role of oral traditions in the formation of the biblical texts.

Mary (mother of Jesus)  
Born: unknown; celebrated 8th of December
Died: unknown; See Assumption of Mary

(Aramaic: Maryam, later Hebrew Miriam)

Mary called since medieval times Madonna, was a Jewish resident of Nazareth in Galilee and known from the New Testament as the mother of Jesus of Nazareth. The New Testament describes her as a young maiden - traditionally, Greek parthénos signifies an actual virgin - who conceived by the agency of the Holy Spirit while she was already the betrothed wife of Saint Joseph and was awaiting their imminent formal home-taking ceremony (i.e., the concluding Jewish wedding rite).

The name "Mary" comes from the Greek,  This is a transliteration of the Hebrew/Aramaic name Maryam. In later Hebrew the vowel "a" changed (regularly) to "i" in a closed unaccented syllable, so that by the time the Jews began to use vowel points, they wrote it as Miryam.

Also may want to see see Blessed Virgin Mary



a. Public celebration of the Eucharist in the Roman Catholic Church and some Protestant churches.

b. The sacrament of the Eucharist.

2. A musical setting of certain parts of the Mass, especially the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei.

Matthew Bible  Matthew's Bible, also known as the Matthew Bible, was first published in 1537 under the pseudonym "Thomas Matthew". It combined Coverdale's work with the maximum of Tyndale's, and thus began the main sequence of English Bible translations.

Matthew's Bible was the combined work of three individuals, working from numerous sources in at least five different languages.

The Pentateuch, the Books of Joshua, Judges, Ruth, First and Second Samuel, First and Second Kings, and First and Second Chronicles-as well as the entire New Testament first published in 1526 and later revised-were the work of William Tyndale. Tyndale worked directly from the Hebrew and Greek, occasionally consulting the Vulgate and Erasmus's Latin version, and referencing Luther's Bible for the prefaces and marginal notes. The use of the pseudonym "Thomas Matthew" resulted from the need to conceal from Henry VIII the participation of Tyndale in the translation.

The remaining books of the Old Testament and the Apocrypha were the work of Myles Coverdale. Coverdale translated primarily from German and Latin sources (see Coverdale Bible).

The Prayer of Manasses was the work of John Rogers. Rogers translated from a French Bible printed two years earlier (in 1535). Rogers compiled the completed work and added the preface, some marginal notes, a calendar and almanac.

Of the three translators, two were burned at the stake. Tyndale was burned on 6 October 1536 in Vilvoorde, Belgium at the instigation of agents of Henry VIII and the Anglican Church. John Rogers was "tested by fire" on 4 February 1554/55 at Smithfield, England; the first to meet this fate under Mary I of England. Myles Coverdale was employed by Cromwell to work on the Great Bible of 1539, the first officially authorized English translation of the Bible.

Historians often tend to treat Coverdale and Tyndale like competitors in a race to complete the monumental and arduous task of translating the biblical text. One is often credited to the exclusion of the other. In reality they knew each other and occasionally worked together. Foxe states that they were in Hamburg translating the Pentateuch together as early at 1529.

Time and extensive scholastic scrutiny have judged Tyndale the most gifted of the three translators. Dr Westcott in his History of the English Bible states that "The history of our English Bible begins with the work of Tyndale and not with that of Wycliffe." The quality of his translations has also stood the test of time, coming relatively intact even into modern versions of the Bible.

Mediterranean Sea  C3 on the Map

Mare Internum (Mare Nostrum). Lat. names for Mediterranean (Biblical name 'Great Sea'). Great Sea, The (Mediterranean Sea) Biblical name: Num. 34:6, 7; Josh. 1:4; 9:1; 15:12; 23:4; Ezek. 47:10; 48:28. Assyrian-Babylonian name 'The Upper Sea', 'The Western Sea'; Latin 'Mare Internum', 'Mare Nostrum.'

All the rains that shower the hills and water the valleys of Palestine come from the Mediterranean. And the wonderful dews which, with the regularity of clockwork, settle during the rainless season in the cool of the evening upon the Palestinian hills. The harvest, whether of grain or fruit, is nourished by these heavy dews.

Messiah  The expected king and deliverer of the Hebrews; the Savior;    Christ.

Messiah literally means "anointed (one)". Figuratively, anointing (in antiquity done with holy anointing oil) is done to signify being chosen for a task; so, messiah means "the chosen (one)", particularly someone divinely chosen.

In Jewish messianic tradition and eschatology, messiah refers to a future King of Israel from the Davidic line, who will rule the people of united tribes of Israel and herald the Messianic Age of global peace. In Standard Hebrew, The Messiah is often referred to as literally meaning "the Anointed King."

Christians believe that prophecies in the Hebrew Bible refer to a spiritual savior, and believe Jesus to be that Messiah (Christ). In the (Greek) Septuagint version of the Old Testament, khristos was used to translate the Hebrew, meaning "anointed."

In Islam, Isa (Jesus) is also called the Messiah (Masih), but like in Judaism he is not considered to be the Son of God.

The Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek translates all thirty-nine instances of the word messiah as (Khristós). The New Testament records the Greek transliteration Messias, twice, in John 1:41 and 4:25.

michtam  A michtam is a poem.

mina  A mina is a Greek coin worth 100 Greek drachmas (or 100 Roman denarii), or about 100 day's wages for an agricultural laborer.

Mishnah  The central legal collection of early rabbinic (= Tannaitic) Judaism. Based on rabbinic traditions compiled about 200 CE, it contains ordinances on such matters as marriage, Sabbath observance, sacrifices, ritual purification, civil law, etc; part of the Talmud. See also Tannaitic and Tosephta.

Mitzvah   "commandment"

 Mitzvah is a word used in Judaism to refer to the 613 commandments given in the Torah and the seven rabbinic commandments instituted later for a total of 620. The term can also refer to the fulfilment of a mitzvah.

The term mitzvah has also come to express any act of human kindness, such as the burial of the body of an unknown person. According to the teachings of Judaism, all moral laws are, or are derived from, divine commandments.

The opinions of the Talmudic rabbis are divided between those who seek the purpose of the mitzvot and those who do not question them. The latter argue that if the reason for each mitzvah could be determined, people might try to achieve what they see as the purpose of the mitzvah, without actually performing the mitzvah itself.

Mizrahi Jew or Oriental Jews or Arab Jews

 Mizrahi Jews are those Jews of Middle Eastern origin; that is to say, their ancestors never left the Middle East.

Though many Mizrahim now follow the liturgical traditions of the Sephardim, and although in modern Israel they may be colloquially referred to as Sephardic Jews, the Mizrahim are not Sephardic since they have never lived in Sepharad (Spain and Portugal) nor are they descended of those who were expelled from the Iberian peninsula during the Spanish Inquisition. Many Mizrahim may consider it culturally insensitive or ignorant not to distinguish between the two communities, even if some Mizrahi may themselves have come to accept the generalized label, despite its erroneous application.

Prior to the emergence of the term "Mizrahi", which dates from their transportation and incorporation into the newly created state of Israel - Arab Jews was a commonly used designation, though not by Mizrahi Jews. The term, however, is rarely used today, and Mizrahi Jews generally self-identify by their country of origin (e.g. "Iraqi Jew") or often simply as Sephardi. Compare with the synonymity of Ashkenazi and European Jew, or Sephardi and Iberian Jew.

Unlike the terms Ashkenazi and Sephardi, Mizrahi is simply a convenient way to refer collectively to a wide range of Jewish communities, most of which are as unrelated to each other as they are to either the Sephardi or Ashkenazi communities.

See also: Jewish ethnic divisions.

Mizraim  Mizraim is the Hebrew name for the land of Egypt, with the dual suffix -ayim, perhaps referring to the "two Egypts": Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt.

Ugaritic inscriptions refer to Egypt as Msrm, in the Amarna tablets it is called Misri, and Assyrian and Babylonian records called Egypt Musur and Musri. The Arabic word for Egypt is Misr (pronounced Masr in colloquial Arabic), and Egypt's official name is Gumhuriyah Misr al-'Arabiyah (the Arab Republic of Egypt).

According to Genesis (Ge-10), Mizraim was the younger brother of Cush and elder brother of Phut and Canaan, whose families together made up the Hamite branch of Noah's descendants. Mizraim's sons were Ludim, Anamim, Lehabim, Naphtuhim, Pathrusim, Casluhim (out of whom came the Philistines), and Caphtorim.

According to Eusebius' Chronicon, Manetho had suggested that the great age of antiquity in which the later Egyptians boasted had actually preceded the flood, and that they were really descended from Mizraim, who settled there anew. A similar story is related by mediaeval Islamic historians such as Sibt ibn al-Jawzi, the Egyptian Ibn Abd-el-Hakem, and the Persians al-Tabari and Muhammad Khwandamir, stating that the pyramids, etc. had been built by the wicked races before the deluge, but that Noah's descendant Mizraim (Masar or Mesr) was entrusted with reoccupying the region afterward. The Islamic accounts also make Masar the son of a Bansar or Beisar and grandson of Ham, rather than a direct son of Ham, and add that he lived to the age of 700. Some scholars think it likely that Mizraim is a dual form of the word Misr meaning "land", and was translated literally into Ancient Egyptian as Ta-Wy (the Two Lands) by early pharaohs at Thebes, who later founded the Middle Kingdom.

But according to George Syncellus, the Book of Sothis, supposedly by Manetho, had identified Mizraim with the legendary first pharaoh Menes, said to have unified the Old Kingdom and built Memphis. Misraim also seems to correspond to Misor, said in Phoenician mythology to have been father of Taautus who was given Egypt, and later scholars noticed that this also recalls Menes, whose son or successor was said to be Athothis.

In Judaism, Mitzrayim has been connected with the word meitzar, meaning "sea strait", possibly alluding to narrow gulfs from both sides of Sinai peninsula. It also can mean "boundaries, limits, restrictions" or "narrow place".

Moab  the historical name for a mountainous strip of land in modern-day Jordan running along the eastern shore of the Dead Sea. In ancient times, it was home to the kingdom of the Moabites, a people often in conflict with their Israelite neighbors to the west. The Moabites were a historical people, whose existence is attested to by numerous archeological findings, most notably the Mesha Stele, which describes the Moabite victory over an unnamed son of King Omri of Israel. Their capital was Dibon, located next to the modern Jordanian town of Dhiban.


Moabite may refer to:

  •    a person from Moab, the former country of the Moabite people, currently located in the area of Jordan east of the Dead Sea

  •    the Moabite language, an extinct Hebrew Canaanite dialect once spoken in Moab

Moabite language  The Moabite language is an extinct Canaanite language, spoken in Moab (modern-day northwestern Jordan) in the early first millennium BC. Most of our knowledge about Moabite comes from the Mesha Stele, as well as the El-Kerak Stela;. The main features distinguishing Moabite from fellow Canaanite languages such as Hebrew are: a plural in -în rather than -îm (eg mlkn "kings" for Biblical Hebrew m?la-kîm), like Aramaic and Arabic; retention of the feminine ending -at which Biblical Hebrew reduces to -a-h (e.g. qryt "town", Biblical Hebrew qirya-h) but retains in the construct state nominal form (e.g.qiryát yisrael "town of Israel"); and retention of a verb form with infixed -t-, also found in Arabic and Akkadian (w-’lth.m "I began to fight", from the root lh.m.

Moses (Latin: Moyses, Hebrew: Standard Moshe Tiberian Mo-šeh; Greek: in both the Septuagint and the New Testament; Arabic: Mu-sa; Ge'ez:, Musse)
Moses is a Biblical Hebrew religious leader, lawgiver, prophet, and military leader, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed. Also called Moshe Rabbeinu in Hebrew (Hebrew: Lit. "Moses our Teacher"), he is the most important prophet in Judaism, and also an important prophet of Christianity, Islam, the Bahá'í Faith, Rastafari, Chrislam and many other faiths.

According to the book of Exodus, Moses was born to a Hebrew mother, Jochebed, who hid him when the Pharaoh ordered all newborn Hebrew boys to be killed, and he ended up being adopted into the Egyptian royal family. After killing an Egyptian slave-master, Moses fled and became a shepherd, and was later commanded by God to deliver the Hebrews from slavery. After the Ten Plagues were unleashed on Egypt, he led the Hebrew slaves out of Egypt, through the Red Sea, where they wandered in the desert for 40 years, during which time, according to the Bible, Moses received the Ten Commandments. Despite living to 120, Moses died before reaching the Land of Israel. According to the Torah, Moses was denied entrance to that destination because he himself disobeyed God's instructions about how to release water from a rock.

Mount Sinai 

The Biblical Mount Sinai is an ambiguously located mountain at which the Hebrew Bible states that the Ten Commandments were given to Moses by God. In certain biblical passages these events are described as having transpired at Horeb. Sinai and Horeb are generally considered to refer to the same place although there is a small body of opinion that they refer to different locations.

Passages earlier in the narrative text than the Israelite encounter with Sinai indicate that the ground of the mountain was considered holy, but according to the rule of Ein mukdam u'meuchar baTorah  -- "[There is] not 'earlier' and 'later' in [the] Torah," that is, the Torah is not authored in a chronological fashion, classical biblical commentators regard this as insignificant. Some modern day scholars, however, who do not recognize the authority of the Oral Law, explain it as having been a sacred place dedicated to one of the Semitic deities, long before the Israelites had ever encountered it. Some modern biblical scholars regard these laws to have originated in different time periods from one another, with the later ones mainly being the result of natural evolution over the centuries of the earlier ones, rather than all originating from a single moment in time.

In Classical rabbinical literature, Mount Sinai became synonymous with holiness; indeed, it was said that when the Messiah arrives, God will bring Sinai together with Mount Carmel and Mount Tabor, rebuild the Temple upon the combined mountain, and the peaks would sing a chorus of praise to God. According to early aggadic midrash, Tabor and Carmel had previously been jealous of Sinai having been chosen as the place that the laws were delivered, but were told by God that they had not been chosen because only Sinai had not had idols placed upon it; according to the Pirke De-Rabbi Eliezer, God had chosen Sinai after discovering that it was the lowest mountain.

Muslim  A Muslim is a believer in or follower of Islam. The word Muslim means one who submits and implies complete submission to the will of God (Allah). Muslims believe that nature is itself Islamic, since it follows natural laws placed by God. Thus, a Muslim strives to surrender to God's commands every step of the way.

The holiest book for Muslims is the Qur'an, or the 'Koran' in English. Muslims consider the Arabic Qur'an as the direct revelation of God; translations do exist to other languages but are not regarded as the literal word of God.

Other canonical texts of the Muslim include the hadith which are recordings of the life of the prophet made by the people who were around him. Many matters not specifically mentioned in the Qur'an are covered in the hadith. The degree to which the hadith are authoritative depends on the sect which a Muslim is from.

The basic beliefs of Muslims are: belief in God, His angels, His revealed Books, His Messengers, the Day of Judgement, and the Al Qadar (which is a form of divine pre-destination). The revealed books of Islam also include the Injil (Christian Gospels), the Torah and the Psalms.

The Five Pillars of Islam on which a Muslim's life is founded are: 

"The Testimony that there is none worthy of worship except God and that Muhammad is his messenger.

"Establishing of the five daily Prayers (Salaah). These prayers are ritualistic in nature and adherence to the ritual practice is required. The location at which one prays is not strictly defined as long as one is able to establish the Qiblat.

"The Giving of Zakaah (charity), which is generally 2.5% of the yearly savings for a rich man working in trade or industry, and 10% or 20% of the produce for agriculturists. This money or produce is distributed among the poor.

"Refraining from eating, drinking and having sex from dawn to dusk in the month of Ramadhaan (Sawm).

"The Pilgrimage (Hajj) to Mecca during the month of Zul Hijjah, which is compulsory once in a lifetime for one who has the ability to do it. This ability includes the financial means and the physical strength since the hajj can be strenuous. Also, one has to obtain a permit from the Saudi government which is granted based on an annual quota based on country.

Until recently the word was also spelled Moslem. Muslims do not recommend this spelling because it is often pronounced "mawzlem," which sounds like an Arabic word for "oppressor." Many English-language writers used to call Muslims "Mohammedans" or "Mahometans", meaning "followers of Mohammed", but this terminology is considered incorrect and insulting, because Muslims think it implies that they worship the prophet Muhammad, contrary to the fundamental principles of Islam itself.

Muslims share many prophets in common with both the Jews and the Christians. However, neither the Jewish nor the Christian faiths recognize Muhammad.

Jesus ("Isa") is believed by Muslims to have been a prophet of God. The virgin birth is also accepted by Muslims Quran 3:45-48. Muslims do not consider Jesus as divine but do believe that he was born without sin Qu'ran 19:19. Muslims do not believe in original sin, so everyone according to Islam is born sinless.

myrrh  Myrrh is the fragrant substance that oozes out of the stems and branches of the low, shrubby tree commiphora myrrha or comiphora kataf native to the Arabian deserts and parts of Africa. The fragrant gum drops to the ground and hardens into an oily yellowish-brown resin. Myrrh was highly valued as a perfume, and as an ingredient in medicinal and ceremonial ointments.


NAS   abbreviation for New American Standard Bible

NASB  abbreviation for New American Standard Bible

Nazareth  is the capital and largest city in the North District of Israel. It also serves as an Arab capital for Israel's Arab citizens who make up the vast majority of the population there. In the New Testament, the city is described as the childhood home of Jesus, and as such is a center of Christian pilgrimage, with many shrines commemorating biblical associations.

Nazerines  One of the names for the original Christians in Judaea; also known as Jesseans according to Epiphanius, an early Christian writer.

Nevi im

Nevi'im (Correct spelling)

(Hebrew: "Prophets") is the second of the three major sections in the Hebrew Bible, the Tanakh, between the Torah and Ketuvim (writings).

Nevi'im is traditionally divided into two parts:

Former Prophets or Nevi'im Rishonim, which contains the narrative books of Joshua through Kings.

Latter Prophets or Nevi'im Aharonim, which mostly contains prophecies in the form of biblical poetry.

In the Jewish tradition, Samuel and Kings are each counted as one book. In addition, twelve relatively short prophetic books are counted as one in a single collection called Trei Asar or "The Twelve Minor Prophets". The Jewish tradition thus counts a total of eight books in Nevi'im out of a total of 24 books in the entire Tanakh. In the Jewish liturgy, selections from the books of Nevi'im known as the Haftarah are read publicly in the synagogue after the reading of the Torah on each Sabbath, as well as on Jewish festivals and fast days.

According to Jewish tradition, Nevi'im is divided into eight books. Contemporary translations subdivide these into seventeen books.

The Nevi'im comprise the following eight books:

Joshua, Js—Yehoshua
Judges, Jg—Shoftim
Samuel, includes First and Second, 1Sa–2Sa—Shemuel
Kings, includes First and Second, 1Ki–2Ki—Melakhim
Isaiah, Is—Yeshayahu
Jeremiah, Je—Yirmiyahu
Ezekiel, Ez—Yekhezkel

Twelve, includes all Minor Prophets—Tre Asar

Hosea, Ho—Hoshea
Joel, Jl—Yoel
Amos, Am—Amos
Obadiah, Ob—Ovadyah
Jonah, Jh—Yonah
Micah, Mi—Mikhah
Nahum, Na—Nahum
Habakkuk, Hb—Havakuk
Zephaniah, Zp—Tsefanya
Haggai, Hg—Khagay
Zechariah, Zc—Zekharyah
Malachi, Ml—Malakhi

New American Standard Bible   NASB or NAS

Derived from: American Standard Version (ASV)
Textual Basis: New Testament: High Correspondence to the 23rd edition of the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece.
Old Testament: Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia with Septuagint influence.
Translation type: Formal Equivalence
Version Revised: 1995

The New American Standard Bible is an English translation of the Bible. The New Testament was first published in 1963. The complete Bible was published in 1971. The most recent edition of the NASB text was published in 1995. Copyright and trademark to the NASB text are owned by the Lockman Foundation.

The NASB was published in the following stages

Gospel of John (1960)
The Gospels (1962)
New Testament (1963)
Psalms (1968)
Complete Bible, Old and New Testaments (1971)
Modified Editions (1972, 1973, 1975, 1977)
Updated Edition (1995)

New Covenant  The term New Covenant is used in the Bible (both in the Hebrew Bible and the Greek New Testament) to refer to an epochal relationship of restoration and peace following a period of trial and judgment. As are all covenants between God and man described in the Bible, it is "a bond in blood sovereignly administered by God."

Christians believe that Jesus is the mediator of the New Covenant (see Hebrews 8:6). In his famous Sermon on the Mount in which he commented on the Law. Some scholars (see Antithesis of the Law) consider this to be an antitype of the proclamation of the Ten Commandments or Mosaic Covenant by Moses from the Biblical Mount Sinai.

New Testament  The New Testament is the name given to the second major division of the Christian Bible, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament. The New Testament is sometimes called the Greek New Testament or Greek Scriptures, or the New Covenant - which is the literal translation of the original Greek. The original texts were written in Koine Greek by various authors after c. AD 45. Its 27 books were gradually collected into a single volume over a period of several centuries. Although certain Christian sects differ as to which works are included in the New Testament, the vast majority of denominations have settled on the same twenty-seven book canon: it consists of the four narratives of Jesus Christ's ministry, called "gospels"; a narrative of the Apostles' ministries in the early church, which is also a sequel to the third Gospel; twenty-one early letters, commonly called "epistles" in Biblical context, written by various authors and consisting mostly of Christian counsel and instruction; and an Apocalyptic prophecy, which is technically the twenty-second epistle. Although the traditional timeline of composition may have been taken into account by the shapers of the current New Testament format, it is not, nor was it meant to be, in strictly chronological order. Though Jesus speaks Aramaic in it, the New Testament (including the Gospels) was written in Greek because that was the lingua franca of the Roman Empire.

Nicolaitans  Nicolaitans were most likely Gnostics who taught the detestable lie that the physical and spiritual realms were entirely separate and that immorality in the physical realm wouldn't harm your spiritual health.

Nimrod   a Mesopotamian monarch mentioned in Genesis, and who figures in many legends and folktales.

Several ruins preserve Nimrod's name, and he is featured in the midrash. Tradition makes him out to be an impious tyrant who built the Tower of Babel.

Mention of Nimrod in the Bible is rather limited. According to the "documentary hypothesis" of the Bible's origin, the Jahwist writer(s) make the earliest mention of Nimrod.

He is described as the son of Cush, grandson of Ham, great-grandson of Noah; and as "a mighty one on the earth" and "a mighty hunter before the LORD".

He also appears in the First Book of Chronicles and in the Book of Micah.

Nimrod is said to be the founder and king of the first empire after the Flood, and his realm is connected with the Mesopotamian towns Babylon (Babel), Uruk, Akkad and Calneh. He is mentioned in the Table of Nations (Genesis 10), where he is said to have founded many cities.

Owing to an ambiguity in the original Hebrew text, it is unclear whether it is he or Asshur who additionally founded Nineveh, Resen, Rehoboth-Ir and Calah, and both of these interpretations are reflected in the various English versions.(Genesis 10:8–10)

Born: 1057 AM - 3167 BC
Died:  2007 AM - 2217 BC

Biblical References: Genesis
Genesis 6 - 9

Noah was, according to the Bible, the tenth and last of the antediluvian Patriarchs; and a prophet according to the Qur'an. The biblical story of Noah is contained in the book of Genesis, chapters 5-9, while the Qur'an has a whole sura named after and devoted to his story with other references elsewhere. In the Genesis account, Noah saves his family and representatives of all animals in groups of two or seven from the flood, while the Islamic version of the story mentions a group of 72 others (although none reproduce after the flood). He receives a covenant from God, and his sons repopulate the earth.

While the Deluge and Noah's Ark are the best-known elements of the account of Noah, he is also mentioned in Genesis as the "first husbandman" and the inventor of wine, as well as in an episode of his drunkenness and the subsequent Curse of Ham. The account of Noah is the subject of much elaboration in the later Abrahamic traditions, and was immensely influential in Western culture. Jewish thinkers have debated the extent of Noah's righteousness. Christians have likened the Christian Church to Noah's ark.

Noah's ark  The ship built by Noah according to God's command, as related in the Bible.

According to the Book of Genesis 6, was a large vessel built at God's command to save Noah, his family, and stock of all the world's animals from the deluge.

North, Martin  See Martin North

Novum Testamentum Graece  Novum Testamentum Graece is the Latin name of the Greek language version of the New Testament. The first printed edition was produced by Erasmus. Today the designation Novum Testamentum Graece normally refers to the Nestle-Aland editions, named after the scholars who led the critical editing work. The text, edited by the Institut für neutestamentliche Textforschung is currently in its 27th edition, abbreviated NA27. NA27 is used as the basis of most contemporary New Testament translations, as well as being the standard for academic work in New Testament studies.

The Greek text as presented is based on what biblical textual critics refer to as the "critical text". The critical text is an eclectic text compiled by a committee that examines a large number of manuscripts in order to weigh which reading is thought closest to the lost original. They use a number of factors to help determine probable readings, such as the date of the witness (earlier is usually better), the geographical distribution of a reading, and possibly accidental or intentional corruptions. In the book, a large number of textual variants, or differences between manuscripts, are noted in the critical apparatus-the extensive footnotes that distinguish the Novum Testamentum Graece from other Greek New Testaments.

A few authors (such as New Testament scholar Maurice A. Robinson and linguist Wilbur Pickering) claim that the minuscule texts more accurately reflect the "autographs" or original texts than an eclectic text like NA27 that relies heavily on manuscripts of the Alexandrian text-type. This view has been criticized by Gordon Fee and Bruce Metzger among others. Since the majority of old manuscripts in existence are minuscules, they are often referred to as the Majority Text. It is worth noting, though, that the Majority Text as a whole is classified by the editors of the NA27 (of which Metzger is one) as a "consistently cited witness of the first order."

The Novum Testamentum Graece apparatus summarizes the evidence (from manuscripts and versions) for, and sometimes against, a selection of the most important variants for the study of the text of the New Testament. While eschewing completeness (in the range of variants and in the citation of witnesses), this edition does provide informed readers with a basis by which they can judge for themselves which readings more accurately reflect the originals. The Greek text of the 27th edition is the same as that of the 4th edition of the United Bible Societies Greek New Testament (abbreviated UBS4) although there are a few differences between them in paragraphing, capitalization, punctuation and spelling. The critical apparatus is different in the two editions; the UBS4 edition is prepared for the use of translators, and includes fewer textual variants, but adds extra material helpful for the translation team.

Numbers  See Book of Numbers


Obed  In the Tanakh, Obed was a son of Boaz and Ruth (Ruth 4:21, 22), the father of Jesse, and the grandfather of David.

In the Christian Scriptures, He is one of Jesus' ancestors through the aforementioned genealogy found in the gospels.

The name Obed is cognate with Arabic "Abd", meaning "servant, worshipper".

Old Testament  In Western Christianity, the Old Testament refers to the books that form the first of the two-part Christian Biblical canon. These works correspond to the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh), with some variations and additions. In the Eastern Orthodox Church the comparable texts are known as the Septuagint, from the original Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures. The term "Old Testament" itself is credited to Melito of Sardis.

Tertullian also used the Latin vetus testamentum in the second century. It is sometimes called the First Testament.

Most scholars agree that the Hebrew Bible was composed and compiled between the 12th and the 2nd century BC, before Jesus' birth. Jesus and his disciples referenced it when discussing Jesus's newer teachings, referring to it as "the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms ... the scriptures". (Luke 24:44-45) The accounts of Jesus and his disciples are recorded in the New Testament.

omega  Omega is the last letter of the Greek alphabet. It is sometimes used to mean the last or the end.

Oral Torah  A term used to denote the legal and interpretative traditions which were transmitted orally, and which were not written in the Torah. According to Rabbinic Judaism, the oral Torah, oral Law, or oral tradition was given by God orally to Moses in conjunction with the written Torah. The Mishnah is the record of the oral Torah.

While other cultures and Jewish groups maintained oral traditions, only the Rabbi's gave ideological significance to the fact that they transmitted their tradition orally. According to Rabbinic tradition, Moses and the Israelites received an oral as well as the written Torah ("teaching") from God at Mount Sinai. The books of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) were relayed with an accompanying oral tradition passed on by each generation. Jewish law and tradition thus is not based on a strictly literal reading of the Tanakh, but on combined oral and written traditions.

Rabbis of the Talmudic era conceived of the Oral Law in two distinct ways. First, Rabbinic tradition conceived of the Oral law as an unbroken chain of transmission. The distinctive feature of this view was that Oral Law was "converyed by word of mouth and memorized." Second, the Rabbis also conceived of the Oral law as an interprative tradition, and not merely as memorized traditions. In this view, the written Torah was seen as containing many levels of interpretation. It was left to later generations, who were steeped in the oral tradition of interpretation to discover those ("hidden") interpretations not revealed by Moses.

The "oral law" was ultimately recorded in the Mishnah, the Talmud and Midrash.


1. Adhering to the accepted or traditional and established faith, especially in religion.

2. Adhering to the Christian faith as expressed in the early Christian ecumenical creeds.

3. Orthodox

a. Of or relating to any of the churches or rites of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

b. Of or relating to Orthodox Judaism.

4. Adhering to what is commonly accepted, customary, or traditional: an orthodox view of world affairs.

Orthodox Christianity  The form of Christianity maintained by the Eastern Orthodox Church. Orthodox means “correct in teaching”; Orthodox Christians consider the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant churches to be incorrect in some teachings, including the relations between the persons of the Trinity.

The term Orthodox Christianity may refer to:

  • The Eastern Orthodox Church: the Eastern Christian churches of Byzantine tradition that adhere to the first seven Ecumenical Councils, and are in full communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and with each other.

  • The Oriental Orthodox Churches: the Eastern Christian churches adhering to the teachings of only the first three Ecumenical Councils (plus the Second Council of Ephesus).

  • Eastern Christianity: Any Christian tradition tracing its origins to the East (the Balkans, Asia Minor, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, etc.) including the Eastern Catholic churches. This usage is generally considered improper although it is not uncommon.

  • Any Christian faith that adheres to the teachings of the first seven (or three) Ecumenical Councils of the Church.

  • Any particular Christian "faith" believed by its followers to be correct by comparison to other faiths. In this sense every Church considers its own faith orthodox.

Note: The Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches are generally not in communion and do not represent a unified religious tradition. (However the Syriac Orthodox Church of the Oriental Orthodox Communion and the Antiochian Orthodox Church of the Eastern Orthodox Communion are in communion with one another.) As such, the term Orthodox Christianity when used to refer to these two Churches collectively refers more to a common eastern influence than to doctrinal matters.

Orthodox Christians believe in God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit (The Trinity).

Orthodox Judaism   the formulation of Judaism that adheres to a relatively strict interpretation and application of the laws and ethics first canonized in the Talmudic texts ("Oral Torah") and as subsequently developed and applied by the later authorities known as the Gaonim, Rishonim, and Acharonim.

Orthodox Judaism is characterized by belief that the Torah and its laws are Divine, were transmitted by God to Moses, are eternal, and are unalterable; belief that there is also an oral law in Judaism, which contains the authoritative interpretation of the written Torah's legal sections, and is also Divine by virtue of having been transmitted by God to Moses along with the Written Law, as embodied in the Talmud, Midrash, and innumerable related texts, all intrinsically and inherently entwined with the written law of the Torah; belief that God has made an exclusive, unbreakable covenant with the Children of Israel to be governed by the Torah; adherence to Halakha, or Jewish law, including acceptance of codes, mainly the Shulchan Aruch, as authoritative practical guidance in application of both the written and oral laws, as well as acceptance of halakha-following Rabbis as authoritative interpreters and judges of Jewish law; belief in Jewish eschatology. Orthodox beliefs may be most found in their adherence to the thirteen Jewish principles of faith as stated by the Rambam (Maimonides).

Although Orthodox Jews are expected to observe all 613 mitzvot, certain core practices are generally considered essential to being Orthodox and converts are generally required to promise to observe:

  • Refraining from murder, idolatry, and certain biblically-prohibited sexual practices such as adultery and incest (See Self-sacrifice under Jewish law).

  • Shabbat, refraining from activities that violate the Jewish sabbath, and Jewish holidays.
  • Kashrut, the Jewish dietary laws.
  • Taharat Hamishpacha, the laws of family purity, restricting sexual relations for a prescribed period around menstruation and after childbirth.
  • Circumcision for males.

Our Lady  See Blessed Virgin Mary



parchment  Prepared animal skin on which text is written.

Patriarch   Originally a patriarch was a man who exercised autocratic authority as a pater familias over an extended family. The system of such rule of families by senior males is called patriarchy. This is a Greek word, a composition of (pater) meaning "father" and (archon) meaning "leader", "chief", "ruler", "king", etc.

Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are referred to as the three patriarchs of the people of Israel, and the period in which they lived is called the Patriarchal Age. It originally acquired its religious meaning in the Septuagint version of the Bible.

The word has mainly taken on specific ecclesiastical meanings. In particular, the highest-ranking bishops in Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, the Roman Catholic Church (above Major Archbishop and primate), and the Assyrian Church of the East are called patriarchs. The office and ecclesiastical conscription (comprising one or more provinces, though outside his own (arch)diocese he is often without enforceable jurisdiction) of such a patriarch is called a patriarchate. Historically, a Patriarch may often be the logical choice to act as Ethnarch, representing the community that is identified with his religious confession within a state or empire of a different creed (as Christians within the Ottoman Empire).

Patriarchs  The Patriarchs (also known as the Avot in Hebrew) according to the Judeo-Christian Old Testament, are Abraham, his son Isaac and his grandson Jacob. Collectively, they are referred to as the three patriarchs (shloshet ha-avot) of Judaism, and the period in which they lived is known as the patriarchal period.

Their primary wives - Sarah (wife of Abraham), Rebekah (wife of Isaac), and Leah and Rachel (the wives of Jacob) - are known as the Matriarchs. Thus, classical Judaism considers itself to have three patriarchs and four matriarchs.

See patriarch

Paul  See Saint Paul

Pauline epistles   The Pauline epistles, Epistles of Paul, or Letters of Paul, are the thirteen New Testament books which have the name Paul as the first word, hence claiming authorship by Paul the Apostle. Among these letters are some of the earliest extant Christian documents. They provide an insight into the beliefs and controversies of formative Christianity and, as part of the canon of the New Testament, they have also been, and continue to be, foundational to Christian theology and ethics.

Paul the Apostle  See Saint Paul

Peleg  (Hebrew: Standard Péleg / Páleg Tiberian Péle? / Pale? ; "Division")

Peleg, Phaleg in the Douay-Rheims, is one of the two sons of Eber, the ancestor of the Hebrews according to the so-called "Table of Nations" in Genesis x, xi and 1 Chronicles i. According to Genesis 10:25, it was during the time of Peleg that "the earth was divided" - traditionally, this is often assumed to be just before, during, or after the failure of Nimrod's Tower of Babel. Peleg's son was Reu, born when he was thirty. He is said to have lived to the age of 239.

The meaning of the earth being divided has been speculated to be a patriarchal division of the world (or possibly just the eastern hemisphere) among the three sons of Noah for future occupation, as specifically described in the Book of Jubilees. Flavius Josephus (among others) also affirms this interpretation in his Antiquities of the Jews, Book I, Chapter VI, Paragraph 4.

Peniel  Peniel is Hebrew for "face of God."

Pentecost (Ancient Greek: "the fiftieth day")

Pentecost is one of the prominent feasts in the Christian liturgical year, celebrated the 49th day (7 weeks) after Easter Sunday-or the 50th day, inclusively, whence its name is derived from the Greek. Pentecost falls on the tenth day after Ascension Thursday. Historically and symbolically related to the Jewish harvest festival of Shavuot or the day, fifty days after the Exodus, on which God gave the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai. In the New Testment times, Pentecost now commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus as described in the Book of Acts, Chapter 2. Pentecost is also called Whitsun, Whitsunday, or Whit Sunday, especially in the United Kingdom.

Pentecostal  any fundamentalist Protestant Church that uses revivalistic methods to achieve experiences comparable to the Pentecostal experiences of the first Christian disciples.

Pentecostalism is a renewalist religious movement within Christianity that places special emphasis on the direct personal experience of God through the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. The term Pentecostal is derived from Pentecost, or the Jewish Feast of Weeks, which commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the followers of Jesus Christ as described in the Book of Acts, Chapter 2.

Pentecostalism is an umbrella term which includes a wide range of different theological and organizational perspectives. As a result, there is no central organization or church which directs the movement. Most Pentecostals consider themselves part of broader Christian groups. For example, Pentecostals often identify as Evangelicals. Furthermore, many embrace the term Protestant, while others the term Restorationist. Pentecostalism is also theologically and historically close to the Charismatic Movement as the latter was influenced by the Pentecostal movement, and some Pentecostals use the two terms interchangeably.

Within Pentecostalism there are two major groups, Trinitarian and Oneness. Examples of Trinitarian denominations include the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) and the Assemblies of God while some Oneness denominations are the United Pentecostal Church International (UPCI) and Pentecostal Assemblies of the World (PAW). There are more than 130 million adherents to Pentecostalism. When Charismatics are included the number increases to nearly a quarter of the world's 2 billion Christians.


Pronounced As: "penttyook"

The first of three divisions of the Hebrew Scriptures comprising the first five books of the Hebrew Bible considered as a unit.

The first five books of the Old Testament. In the Hebrew Bible these books are called the Torah.

The five-fold volume, consisting of the first five books of the Old Testament. This word does not occur in Scripture, nor is it certainly known when the roll was thus divided into five  portions Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. Probably that was done by the LXX. translators. Some modern  critics speak of a Hexateuch, introducing the Book of Joshua as one of the group. But this book is of an entirely different  character from the other books, and has a different author. It stands by itself as the first of a series of historical books  beginning with the entrance of the Israelites into Canaan. (See JOSHUA) The books composing the Pentateuch are properly but one book, the "Law of Moses," the "Book of the Law of Moses," the "Book of Moses," or, as the Jews designate it, the "Torah" or "Law." That in its present form it "proceeds from a single author is proved  by its plan and aim, according to which its whole contents refer  to the covenant concluded between Jehovah and his people, by the instrumentality of Moses, in such a way that everything before  his time is perceived to be preparatory to this fact, and all  the rest to be the development of it. Nevertheless, this unity  has not been stamped upon it as a matter of necessity by the latest redactor: it has been there from the beginning, and is  visible in the first plan and in the whole execution of the work.", Keil, Einl. i.d. A. T. A certain school of critics have set themselves to reconstruct  the books of the Old Testament. By a process of "scientific  study" they have discovered that the so-called historical books  of the Old Testament are not history at all, but a miscellaneous  collection of stories, the inventions of many different writers, patched together by a variety of editors! As regards the Pentateuch, they are not ashamed to attribute fraud, and even  conspiracy, to its authors, who sought to find acceptance to their work which was composed partly in the age of Josiah, and partly in that of Ezra and Nehemiah, by giving it out to be the work of Moses! This is not the place to enter into the details  of this controversy. We may say frankly, however, that we have  no faith in this "higher criticism." It degrades the books of the Old Testament below the level of fallible human writings, and the arguments on which its speculations are built are  altogether untenable. The evidences in favour of the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch are conclusive. We may thus state some of them  briefly: (1.) These books profess to have been written by Moses in the name of God (Ex. 17:14; 24:3, 4, 7; 32:7-10, 30-34; 34:27; Lev. 26:46; 27:34; Deut. 31:9, 24, 25). (2.) This also is the uniform and persistent testimony of the Jews of all sects in all ages and countries (comp. Josh. 8:31, 32; 1 Kings 2:3; Jer. 7:22; Ezra 6:18; Neh. 8:1; Mal. 4:4; Matt. 22:24; Acts 15:21). (3.) Our Lord plainly taught the Mosaic authorship of these  books (Matt. 5:17, 18; 19:8; 22:31, 32; 23:2; Mark 10:9; 12:26; Luke 16:31; 20:37; 24:26, 27, 44; John 3:14; 5:45, 46, 47; 6:32, 49; 7:19, 22). In the face of this fact, will any one venture to allege either that Christ was ignorant of the composition of the Bible, or that, knowing the true state of the case, he yet  encouraged the people in the delusion they clung to? (4.) From the time of Joshua down to the time of Ezra there  is, in the intermediate historical books, a constant reference  to the Pentateuch as the "Book of the Law of Moses." This is a point of much importance, inasmuch as the critics deny that there is any such reference; and hence they deny the historical  character of the Pentateuch. As regards the Passover, e.g., we  find it frequently spoken of or alluded to in the historical  books following the Pentateuch, showing that the "Law of Moses" was then certainly known. It was celebrated in the time of Joshua (Josh. 5:10, cf. 4:19), Hezekiah (2 Chr. 30), Josiah (2 Kings 23; 2 Chr. 35), and Zerubbabel (Ezra 6:19-22), and is  referred to in such passages as 2 Kings 23:22; 2 Chr. 35:18; 1 Kings 9:25 ("three times in a year"); 2 Chr. 8:13. Similarly we  might show frequent references to the Feast of Tabernacles and other Jewish institutions, although we do not admit that any  valid argument can be drawn from the silence of Scripture in such a case. An examination of the following texts, 1 Kings 2:9; 2 Kings 14:6; 2 Chr. 23:18; 25:4; 34:14; Ezra 3:2; 7:6; Dan. 9:11, 13, will also plainly show that the "Law of Moses" was  known during all these centuries. Granting that in the time of Moses there existed certain oral  traditions or written records and documents which he was  divinely led to make use of in his history, and that his writing  was revised by inspired successors, this will fully account for certain peculiarities of expression which critics have called  "anachronisms" and "contradictions," but in no way militates  against the doctrine that Moses was the original author of the whole of the Pentateuch. It is not necessary for us to affirm  that the whole is an original composition; but we affirm that the evidences clearly demonstrate that Moses was the author of those books which have come down to us bearing his name. The Pentateuch is certainly the basis and necessary preliminary of the whole of the Old Testament history and literature. (See DEUTERONOMY)

Pharisees  One of the three orders or sects of Jews described by Josephus and other ancient sources during the Second Temple period. Originally, an essentially lay group formed from one of the branches of the Hasidim of the Maccabaean age. By the time of John Hyrcanus I there was Pharisaic objection to his usurpation, as a non-Zadokite, of the high priesthood, though they were willing to accept him as the national leader. Eight hundred Pharisees were accused by Alexander Jannaeus of collusion with the Syrian Seleucid king Demetrius III Eucaerus and condemned by Jannaeus to die on the cross. By the time of Josephus they were the largest of the various groups and had the popular support of the people. They were characterized by their "free" interpretation of the Bible, adherence to oral traditions, strict observance of rites and interpretation, belief in future retribution, belief in angels and other spiritual beings, divine providence cooperating with free will, the immortality of the soul, the bodily resurrection of the dead, and a coming Messiah. Some commentators suggest that Jesus was from a Pharisee family and background. Similarities between his teachings, especially the Sermon on the Mount, and those of Pharisee teachers, such as Hillel, seem to support the contention that Jesus 'was himself a Pharisee'.

Pietism  Pietism was a movement within Lutheranism, lasting from the late 17th century to the mid-18th century and later. It proved to be very influential throughout Protestantism and Anabaptism, inspiring not only Anglican priest John Wesley to begin the Methodist movement, but also Alexander Mack to begin the Brethren movement. The Pietist movement combined the Lutheranism of the time with the Reformed, and especially Puritan, emphasis on individual piety, and a vigorous Christian life.

phylactery  a leather container for holding a small scroll containing important Scripture passages that is worn on the arm or forehead in prayer. These phylacteries (tefillin in Hebrew) are still used by orthodox Jewish men. See Deuteronomy 6:8.

Praetorium  Praetorium: the Roman governor's residence and office building, and those who work there.

Prehistory  a term often used to describe the period before written history.

Prehistory can be said to date back to the beginning of the universe itself, although the term is most often used to describe periods when there was life on Earth; dinosaurs can be described as prehistoric animals and cavemen are described as prehistoric people. Furthermore, the word prehistory can be said to have special relevance to the study of the human past, as opposed to, for example, that of other animals or the earth itself, and this nuance can be seen from its usage. In any case, usually the context implies what geologic or prehistoric time period is discussed, f.e. "prehistoric miocene apes", about 23 - 5.5 Million years ago, or "Middle Palaeolithic Homo sapiens", 200,000 - 30,000 years ago.

Priest  A priest or priestess is a person having the authority or power to administer religious rites; in particular, rites of sacrifice to, and propitiation of, a deity or deities. Their office or position is the priesthood, a term which may also apply to such persons collectively.

Priests and priestesses have been known since the earliest of times and in the simplest societies. They exist in all or some branches of Judaism, Christianity, Shintoism, Hinduism, and many other religions, as well, and are generally regarded as having good contact with the deities of the religion to which s/he ascribes, often interpreting the meaning of events, performing the rituals of the religion, and to whom other believers often will turn for advice on spiritual matters.

In many religions, being a priest or priestess is a full-time job, ruling out any other career. In other cases it is a part-time role. For example in the early History of Iceland the chieftains were entitled goði, a word meaning "priest". But as seen in the saga of Hrafnkell Freysgoði, being a priest consisted merely of offering periodic sacrifices to the Norse gods and goddesses. it was not a full time job, nor did it involve ordination.

In some religions, being a priest is by human election or human choice. In others the priesthood is inherited in familial lines.

Women officiating in modern Paganism, Neopagan religions such as Wicca, and various Polytheistic Reconstructionism faiths are referred to as priestesses, however, in contemporary Christian churches that ordain women, such as those of the Anglican Communion or the Christian Community, ordained women are called priests.

Promised Land    (Hebrew: translit.: ha-Aretz ha-Muvtachat)


The Promised Land is a term used to describe the land promised by God, according to the Hebrew Bible, to the Israelites.

The promise is made to Abraham and the descendants of his son Isaac, and Isaac's son Jacob, Abraham's grandson as they are all given promise that their descendants will be given a territory from the river of Egypt to the Euphrates river.

See The Divine Promise

Prophets   a division of the Old Testament, comprising the books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the Twelve

Protestant  an adherent of Protestantism

1.  A member of a Western Christian church whose faith and practice are founded on the principles of the Reformation, especially in the acceptance of the Bible as the sole source of revelation, in justification by faith alone, and in the universal priesthood of all the believers.

2. A member of a Western Christian church adhering to the theologies of Luther, Calvin, or Zwingli.

3. One of the German princes and cities that supported the doctrines of Luther and protested against the decision of the second Diet of Speyer (1529) to enforce the Edict of Worms (1521) and deny toleration to Lutherans.

The term Protestant is used to refer to any Christian group which developed from the Reformation. Characteristic of most Protestant churches are such dogmas as acceptance of the Bible as the sole source of revelation and authority, justification by faith alone (sola fidei), and the universal priesthood of all believers.

Contrary to popular perception, the name does not stem directly from the idea of people "protesting" various doctrines and actions of the Catholic Church. Early on in the Reformation, those dissenters were referred to in Germany as Evangelicals (and this is the term still in use today). Peace was established between Evangelicals and Catholics at the Diet of Speier in 1526 because the emperor, Charles V, needed peace at home in order to deal with foreign conflicts.

Once he felt that he had those foreign issues in hand, Charles turned back to the religion issue at home and, at a second Diet of Speier, he revoked the peace along with the concessions given to Evangelicals (which allowed each person to follow their consciences and each prince to handle religious matters in their territory). This may have pleased the Catholic Church, but it infuriated the Evangelicals and they protested his actions - it was at this time that the name Protestant came into widespread use.

Protestant Church - the Protestant churches and denominations collectively

  • Protestant

  • Mass - (Roman Catholic Church and Protestant Churches) the celebration of the Eucharist
  • Christian church, church - one of the groups of Christians who have their own beliefs and forms of worship
  • Pentecostal religion - any fundamentalist Protestant Church that uses revivalistic methods to achieve experiences comparable to the Pentecostal experiences of the first Christian disciples
  • Protestant denomination - group of Protestant congregations
  • Protestant - an adherent of Protestantism

Protestant denomination - group of Protestant congregations

Protestantism  Protestantism originated in the 16th century Protestant Reformation. Protestant doctrine, also known in continental European traditions as Evangelical doctrine, is in opposition to that of Roman Catholicism. It typically holds that Scripture (rather than tradition or ecclesiastic interpretation of Scripture) is the source of revealed truth.


 1. a short, traditional saying that expresses some obvious truth or familiar experience; adage; maxim

2. a person or thing that has become commonly recognized as a type of specified characteristics; byword

3. Bible an enigmatic saying in which a profound truth is cloaked

Psalms  ("praises")   a book of the Hebrew Bible (the Christian Old Testament), included in the collected works known as the "Writings" or Ketuvim.

Collection of Biblical hymns, i.e. sacred songs or poems used in worship and non-canonical passages.

See The Book of Psalms

Pseudepigrapha   (Greek pseudepigraphos, "falsely ascribed")

Jewish and Christian writings that began to appear about 200 BC and continued to be written well into Christian times; they were attributed by their authors to great religious figures and authorities of the past. Pseudepigrapha were composed in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, and they include apocalyptic writings, legendary histories, collections of psalms, and wisdom literature. In most cases, Pseudepigrapha are modeled on canonical books of a particular genre: For example, Judith is inspired by the historical books of the Old Testament; Ecclesiaticus, by Proverbs; and the Psalms of Solomon, by the biblical Psalms.

Pseudepigrapha, in the narrow sense of pseudonymous writings, are present in the canon of the Old Testament-for example, Ecclesiastes (traditionally attributed to Solomon), the Song of Solomon, and Daniel. Protestants and Jews, however, customarily use the term Pseudepigrapha to describe those writings that Roman Catholics would term Apocrypha-that is, late Jewish writings that all scholars consider extracanonical. Such works include the Book of Jubilees, the Psalms of Solomon, the Fourth Book of Maccabees, the Book of Enoch, the Fourth Book of Ezra, the Apocalypse of Baruch, and the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, all of which are ascribed to canonical worthies of the Old Testament, date from intertestamental times, and have not been preserved in their original Hebrew or Aramaic. Fragments of other, hitherto unknown Pseudepigrapha, preserved in Hebrew or Aramaic, have turned up among the Qumran material (see Dead Sea Scrolls).


quadrans  A quadrans is a Roman coin worth about 1/64 of a denarius. A denarius is about one day's wages for an agricultural laborer.


Qur'an  (Arabic: al-qur'an, literally "the recitation"; also sometimes transliterated as Quran, Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran or Al-Qur'an)

The holy book of Islam, the Qur'an

The Qur'an is the central religious text of Islam. Muslims believe the Qur'an to be the book of divine guidance and direction for mankind, and consider the original Arabic text to be the final revelation of God.

Islam holds that the Qur'an was revealed to Muhammad by the angel Jibril (Gabriel) from 610 AD to his death in 632 AD. The Qur'an was written down by Muhammad's companions while he was alive, although the prime method of transmission was oral. In 633 AD, the written text was compiled, and in 653 AD it was standardized, distributed in the Islamic empire and produced in large numbers. The present form of the Qur'an is regarded as Gods revelation to Muhammad by academic scholars, and the search for significant variants in Western academia has been unsuccessful.

Muslims regard the Qur'an as the culmination of a series of divine messages that started with those revealed to Adam, regarded in Islam as the first prophet, and continued with the Suhuf Ibrahim (Scrolls of Abraham), the Tawrat (Torah), the Zabur (Psalms), and the Injeel (Gospel). The aforementioned books are not explicitly included in the Qur'an, but are recognized therein. The Qur'an also refers to many events from Jewish and Christian scriptures, some of which are retold in comparatively distinctive ways from the Bible and the Torah, while obliquely referring to other events described explicitly in those texts.


rabbi  Rabbi is a transliteration of the Hebrew word for "my teacher," used as a title of respect for Jewish teachers.

rabbinic Judaism  The form of Judaism that became most widely accepted from the second century CE on. It espouses various teachings of the rabbis ("masters" or "great ones") or hakhamim ("sages") as binding for Jewish thought and practice. Rabbinic Judaism harks back to the earlier Pharisaic Judaism; like the Pharisees, the rabbinic Jews accept the validity of oral tradition, beliefs in angels and spirits, and the resurrection of the dead.

Rachel    the second and favorite wife of Jacob and mother of Joseph and Benjamin, first mentioned in the Book of Genesis of the Hebrew Bible. She was the daughter of Laban and the younger sister of Leah, Jacob's first wife. Jacob was her first cousin, as Jacob's mother Rebecca was Laban's sister.

Rahab  Rahab is either

(1) The prostitute who hid Joshua's 2 spies in Jericho (Joshua 2,6) and later became an ancestor of Jesus (Matthew 1:5) and an example of faith (Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25).

(2) Literally, "pride" or "arrogance" -- possibly a reference to a large aquatic creature (Job 9:13; Job 26:12; Isaiah 51:9) or symbolically referring to Egypt (Psalm 87:4; 89:10).

Rebecca  (also Rebekah, also Rivkah, Hebrew: "to tie; to bind; captivating")

Rebecca is the wife of Isaac and the second matriarch of the four matriarchs of the Jewish people. She is the mother of Jacob and Esau. Rebecca and Isaac are one of the three "pairs" buried in the Cave of Machpelah in Hebron, together with Abraham and Sarah and Jacob and Leah.

Redeemer   Christianity Jesus Christ

Reformation  A 16th-century movement in Western Europe that aimed at reforming some doctrines and practices of the Roman Catholic Church and resulted in the establishment of the Protestant churches.

Religious text   also known as scripture, are the texts which various religious traditions consider to be sacred, or of central importance to their religious tradition. Many religions and spiritual movements believe that their sacred texts are divinely or supernaturally inspired.

repent  to change one's mind; turn away from sin and turn towards God; to abhor one's past sins and determine to follow God.

Resurrection of Jesus Christ  The major Resurrection appearances of Jesus are reported in the New Testament to have occurred after his death and burial and prior to his Ascension. These are: Matthew 28:8-20, Mark 16:9-20, Luke 24:13-49, John 20:11-21:25, Acts 1:1-11, and 1 Corinthians 15:3-9. Among these primary sources, most scholars believe First Corinthians was written first, authored by Paul of Tarsus, circa 55.

Resurrection of the dead 

"There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both the of the just and unjust."—Acts 24:15.

Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam all variously describe a resurrection, usually of all people to face God on Judgment Day.

Resurrection is the rising again from the dead, the resumption of life. The Fourth Lateran Council teaches that all men, whether elect or reprobate, "will rise again with their own bodies which they now bear about with them" (cap. "Firmiter"). In the language of the creeds and professions of faith this return to life is called resurrection of the body (resurrectio carnis, resurrectio mortuoram, anastasis ton nekron) for a double reason: first, since the soul cannot die, it cannot be said to return to life; second the heretical contention of Hymeneus and Philitus that the Scriptures denote by resurrection not the return to life of the body, but the rising of the soul from the death of sin to the life of grace, must be excluded.

Rhabboni  Rhabboni: a transliteration of the Hebrew word for "great teacher."

ritual purity  In the case of the Jews, the special state of cleanness required of those who would observe the laws of the Pentateuch relating to the pure and impure and take part in various religious ceremonies. Ritual purity involved both the avoidance of certain people (e.g., lepers), items (e.g., a corpse), or animals (e.g., mice) considered as defiling, and the performance of certain kinds of washings and other rituals in order to purify oneself after coming into contact with things considered defiling.

Roman Catholic Church  The Roman Catholic Church, officially known as the Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian Church, representing over half of all Christians and one-sixth of the world's population. The Catholic Church is a communion of 23 Sui Juris particular churches. Among these are the Western Rite (Latin Rite) and Eastern Catholic Churches comprising 2,782 dioceses. The Church's highest earthly authority in matters of faith, morality and Church governance is the pope, who holds supreme authority over the Church in concert with the College of Bishops, of which he is the head. The community is made up of an ordained ministry and the laity; members of either group may belong to organized religious communities.

The Catholic Church defines its mission as spreading the message of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity. It operates social programs and institutions throughout the world, including schools, universities, hospitals, missions and shelters, as well as organisations such as Catholic Relief Services, Caritas Internationalis and Catholic Charities that help the poor, families, the elderly and the sick.

Through apostolic succession, the Church believes itself to be the continuation of the Christian community founded by Jesus in his consecration of Saint Peter, a view shared by many historians. It has defined its doctrines through various ecumenical councils, following the example set by the first Apostles in the Council of Jerusalem. On the basis of promises made by Jesus to his apostles, described in the Gospels, the Church believes that it is guided by the Holy Spirit and so protected from falling into doctrinal error. Catholic beliefs are based on the Bible and on traditions handed down from the time of the Apostles, which are interpreted by a teaching authority. Those beliefs are summarized in the Nicene Creed and formally detailed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Formal Catholic worship, termed the liturgy, is regulated by Church authority. The Eucharist, one of seven Church sacraments and the key part of every Catholic Mass, is the center of Catholic worship.

With a history spanning almost two thousand years, the Church is one of the world's oldest institutions, and has played a prominent role in the history of Western civilization since at least the 4th century. In the 11th century, a major split (the Great Schism) occurred between Eastern and Western Christianity, largely as a result of disagreements over papal primacy. The Eastern Orthodox churches became a separate entity from the Catholic Church in the resulting schism. Eastern Churches who remained in or later re-established communion with the Bishop of Rome, the Pope, form the Eastern Catholic churches. In the 16th century, partly in response to the Protestant schism, the Church engaged in a substantial process of reform and renewal, known as the Counter-Reformation.

Although the Catholic Church maintains that it is the "one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church" founded by Jesus Christ, where one can find the fullness of the means of salvation, it acknowledges that the Holy Spirit can make use of other Christian communities to bring people to salvation. It believes that it is called by the Holy Spirit to work for unity among all Christians, a movement known as ecumenism. Modern challenges facing the Church include the rise of secularism and opposition to its pro-life stance on abortion, contraception and euthanasia.

Roman Empire  The Roman Empire was the post-Republican phase of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean. The term is used to describe the Roman state during and after the time of the first emperor, Augustus. The 500-year-old Roman Republic, which preceded it, had been weakened by several civil wars. Several events are commonly proposed to mark the transition from Republic to Empire, including Julius Caesar's appointment as perpetual dictator (44 BC), the victory of Octavian at the Battle of Actium (2 September 31 BC), and the Roman Senate's granting to Octavian the honorific Augustus. (16 January 27 BC).

The Latin term Imperium Romanum (Roman Empire), probably the best-known Latin expression where the word imperium denotes a territory, indicates the part of the world under Roman rule. Roman expansion began in the days of the Republic, but reached its zenith under Emperor Trajan. At this territorial peak, the Roman Empire controlled approximately 5,900,000 km² (2,300,000 sq mi) of land surface. Because of the Empire's vast extent and long endurance, Roman influence upon the language, religion, architecture, philosophy, law, and government of nations around the world lasts to this day.

In the late 3rd century AD, Diocletian established the practice of dividing authority between two emperors, one in the western part of the empire and one in the east, in order to better administer the vast territory. For the next century this practice continued, with occasional periods in which one emperor assumed complete control. However, after the death of Theodosius the Great in 395, no single emperor would ever again hold genuine supremacy over a united Roman Empire. The Western Roman Empire collapsed in 476 as Romulus Augustus was forced to abdicate by Odoacer. The Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire endured until 1453 with the capture of Constantinople by the Ottoman Turks led by Mehmed II. Therefore, it is difficult to give an exact date when the Roman Empire ceased to exist, but this article will focus on the empire from 27 BC to the permanent division in AD 395.

Born: c. 1200 to 1000 B.C.
Died: c. 1200 to 1000 B.C.
Birthplace: Moab

The name Ruth is found in the Old Testament only in the book which is so entitled. The Book of Ruth details the history of the one decisive episode owing to which Ruth became an ancestress of David and of the royal house of Judah.

The short biblical book of Ruth is about a foreigner who, out of loyalty to her mother-in-law, adopts the Hebrew culture as her own and becomes an ancestor of Israel's most famous king. The story begins with a woman named Naomi immigrating eastward from the region of Judea to the land of Moab with her husband, Elimelech. He dies there and so do their two sons, who have married Moabite women. Before heading home, Naomi urges her daughters-in-law to return to their families. One of them, Ruth, refuses, declaring faithfulness to Naomi despite the hardships that await two widows in Judea. Once there, through obedience to Naomi and her own hard work as a field gleaner, Ruth gains security for both of them by persuading Boaz, Naomi's relative, to marry her and care for them both. Their son, Obed, fathers Jesse, who in turn fathers David, the famous young giant slayer and eventual king of Israel.

Ruth professes her loyalty to Naomi in Chapter 1, verse 16: 

"Where you go, I will go; where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God"...

The Book of Ruth is traditionally read on the Jewish holiday of Shauvot... 

In Jewish bibles, Ruth is in a section of "Writings" that starts with Psalms and Proverbs. In the Old Testament section of Christian bibles it comes earlier, after Joshua and Judges. Most scholars believe it was written between 950 and 700 B.C.


Sabbath  The seventh day of the week, set aside by God for man to rest.

A Sabbat or sabbath is generally a weekly day of rest and/or time of worship that is observed in any of several faiths. The term derives from the Hebrew shabbat, "to cease", which was first used in the Biblical account of the seventh day of Creation. Observation and remembrance of the Sabbath is one of the Ten Commandments (the fourth in the original Jewish, the Eastern Orthodox, and most Protestant traditions, the third in Roman Catholic and Lutheran traditions). Many viewpoints and definitions have arisen over the millennia. The term has been used to describe a similar weekly observance in any of several other faiths; the new moon; any of seven annual festivals in Judaism and some Christian traditions; any of eight annual festivals in Wicca (usually "sabbat"); and a year of rest in religious or secular usage, originally every seventh year.

sacerdotal  Referring to the Temple or priesthood

Sacrament  A sacrament, as defined in Hexam's Concise Dictionary of Religion is "a Rite in which God is uniquely active."Augustine of Hippo defined a Christian sacrament as "a visible sign of an invisible reality." The Anglican Book of Common Prayer speaks of them as "an outward and visible sign of an inward and invisible Grace." Examples of sacraments would be Baptism and the Mass." Therefore a sacrament is a religious symbol or often a rite which conveys divine grace, blessing, or sanctity upon the believer who participates in it, or a tangible symbol which represents an intangible reality. As defined above, an example would be baptism in water, representing (and conveying) the grace of the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Forgiveness of Sins, and membership into the Church. Anointing with holy anointing oil is another example which is often synonymous with receiving the Holy Spirit and salvation as mentioned in James 5:14. Another way of looking at Sacraments is that they are an external and physical sign of the conferral of Sanctifying Grace.

Throughout the Christian faith views concerning which rites are sacramental, that is conferring sanctifying grace, and what it means for an external act to be sacramental vary widely. Other religious traditions also have what might be called "sacraments" in a sense, though not necessarily according to the Christian meaning of the term.

Sacraments of the Catholic Church  The Sacraments of the Catholic Church are, the Church teaches, "efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us. The visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the graces proper to each sacrament. They bear fruit in those who receive them with the required dispositions.

Though not every individual receives every sacrament, the sacraments as a whole are seen as necessary means of salvation for the faithful, each conferring that sacrament's particular grace, such as incorporation into Christ and the Church, forgiveness of sins, or consecration for a particular service.

The Church teaches that the effect of a sacrament comes ex opere operato, by the very fact of being administered, regardless of the personal holiness of the minister administering it. However, a recipient's own lack of proper disposition to receive the grace conveyed can block the effectiveness of the sacrament in that person. The sacraments presuppose faith and through their words and ritual elements, nourish, strengthen and give expression to faith.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church lists the sacraments as follows: "The whole liturgical life of the Church revolves around the Eucharistic sacrifice and the sacraments. There are seven sacraments in the Church: Baptism, Confirmation or Chrismation, Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony."

Saint (from the Latin sanctus)

 The Greek word for "saints" literally means "holy ones." Saints are people set apart for service to God as holy and separate, living in righteousness. Used in the Bible to refer to all Christians and to all of those who worship Yahweh in Old Testament times.

A saint in Christianity is a human being who has been called to holiness. The term is used differently by various denominations, with some, such as the Anglicans, distinguishing between Saints and saints. In high-church contexts, such as Roman Catholicism or Anglo-Catholicism, a Saint is generally one to whom has been attributed (and who has generally demonstrated) a high level of holiness and sanctity. In this use, a saint is therefore not simply a believer, but one who has been unusually transformed. On the other hand, many denominations, notably in Protestantism, emphasise the traditional New Testament meaning of the word, preferring to write saint (lower case) to refer to any believer, in continuity with the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers. Some denominations venerate the dead saints, while others vehemently reject this practice.

The use of the term saint is not exclusive to Christianity. In most religious cultures, there are people who have been recognised within that culture as having fulfilled the highest aspirations of religious teaching. In English, the term saint is often used to translate this idea from many world religions.

Saint James the Just   (Hebrew: Jacob)
(died 62AD),

also known as James the Just, James of Jerusalem, James Adelphotheos, James, the Brother of the Lord, was an important figure in Early Christianity. He is also generally identified by Roman Catholics with James, son of Alphaeus and James the Less. According to Christian tradition, he was the first Bishop of Jerusalem, the author of the Epistle of James in the New Testament, the first of the Seventy of Luke 10:1–20, and originator of the Apostolic Decree of Acts 15:19-29. Paul of Tarsus in Galatians 2:9 (KJV) characterized James as such: " . . . James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars . . ." He is described in the New Testament as a "brother of the Lord" and in the Liturgy of St James as "the brother of God" (Adelphotheos).

Saint Mary  See Mary (Mother of Jesus)

Saint Paul  (also called Paul the Apostle, The Apostle Paul or Paul of Tarsus) 
Born: no scholarly consensus on date,  in Tarsus according to Acts 22:3
Died: 64-67 AD,  in Rome during Nero's Persecution according to Eusebius' Church History 3.1

Saint Paul was a Hellenistic Jew, who called himself the "Apostle to the Gentiles", and was, together with Saint Peter and James the Just, the most notable of early Christian missionaries. Unlike the Twelve Apostles, there is no indication that Paul ever met Jesus before the latter's crucifixion. According to the Acts of the Apostles, his conversion took place  as he was traveling the road to Damascus. He experienced a vision of the resurrected Jesus after which he was temporarily blinded. Paul asserts that he received the Gospel not from man, but by "the revelation of Jesus Christ".

Fourteen epistles in the New Testament are traditionally attributed to Paul, though in some cases the authorship is disputed. Paul had often employed an amanuensis, only occasionally writing himself. As a sign of authenticity, the writers of these epistles sometimes employ a passage presented as being in Paul's own handwriting. These epistles were circulated within the Christian community. They were prominent in the first New Testament canon ever proposed (by Marcion), and they were eventually included in the orthodox Christian canon of Scripture. They are believed to be the earliest-written books of the New Testament.

Paul's influence on Christian thinking arguably has been more significant than any other New Testament author. His influence on the main strands of Christian thought has been demonstrable: from Saint Augustine of Hippo to the controversies between Gottschalk and Hincmar of Reims; between Thomism and Molinism; Martin Luther, John Calvin and the Arminians; to Jansenism and the Jesuit theologians, and even to the German church of the twentieth century through the writings of the scholar Karl Barth, whose commentary on the Letter to the Romans had a political as well as theological impact. He is the patron saint of London.

Saint Peter  (c.1-64 AD)

Saint Peter was one of the Twelve Apostles, chosen by Jesus as one of his first disciples. He is prominently featured in the New Testament Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles. Peter was a Galilean fisherman assigned a leadership role by Jesus. (Matthew 16:18) He was with Jesus during events witnessed by only a few apostles, such as the Transfiguration. Early Christian writers provided more details about his life. Tradition describes him as the first bishop of Rome, author of two canonical epistles, and a martyr under Nero, crucified head down and buried in Rome. His memoirs are traditionally cited as the source of the Gospel of Mark.

The Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Anglican Communion consider Simon Peter a saint. According to Catholic and Orthodox tradition, Peter was the first bishop of Rome and Catholics argue that the Pope is Peter's successor and therefore the rightful superior of all other bishops. Eastern and Oriental Orthodox also recognize the Bishop of Rome as the successor of Saint Peter and the Ecumenical Patriarch sends a delegation each year to Rome to participate in the celebration of his feast. In the "Ravenna Document" of 13 October 2007, the representatives of the Eastern Orthodox Church agreed that "Rome, as the Church that 'presides in love' according to the phrase of St Ignatius of Antioch (To the Romans, Prologue), occupied the first place in the taxis, and that the bishop of Rome was therefore the protos among the patriarchs. They disagree, however, on the interpretation of the historical evidence from this era regarding the prerogatives of the bishop of Rome as protos, a matter that was already understood in different ways in the first millennium."

In art, he is often depicted holding the keys to the kingdom of heaven (interpreted by Roman Catholics as the sign of his primacy over the Church), a reference to Matthew 16:19.

saints  See Saint

Salome (disciple)    (Hebrew, "shalom", "peace")

This Salome is distinct from Salomé the daughter of Herodias, who demanded the head of John the Baptist.

The Salome spoken of is that of  the follower of Jesus

Salome , the younger sister of Mary (mother of Jesus), was a follower of Jesus, who appears briefly in the canonical gospels, and who appears in more detail in apocryphal writings. She was the wife of Zebedee and the mother of James and John, two of the Apostles of Jesus.

Salome  or Salomé   the Daughter of Herodias (c AD 14 - between 62 and 71), is known from the New Testament (Mark 6:21-29 and Matt 14:6-11, where, however, her name is not given) in connection with the death of John the Baptist. Another source from Antiquity, Flavius Josephus' Jewish Antiquities, gives her name and some detail about her family relations.

Christian traditions depict her as an icon of dangerous female seductiveness, for instance depicting as erotic her dance mentioned in the New Testament (in some later transformations further iconised to the dance of the seven veils), or concentrate on her lighthearted and cold foolishness that, according to the gospels, led to John the Baptist's death. A new ramification was added by Oscar Wilde, who in his play Salome let her devolve into a necrophiliac, killed the same day as the man whose death she had requested. This last interpretation, made even more memorable by Richard Strauss's opera based on Wilde, is not consistent with Josephus' account; according to the Romanized Jewish historian, she lived long enough to marry twice and raise several children. Few literary accounts elaborate the biographical data given by Josephus.

Samaria  Central region of ancient Palestine. Unlike Judaea and Galilee it was not an area of dense Jewish settlement during the intertestamental period.

Samaritan  A Samaritan is a resident of Samaria. The Samaritans and the Jews generally detested each other during the time that Jesus walked the Earth.

Inhabitants of the region of Samaria in Palestine who were not exiled with the Judaeans to Babylonia. They maintained belief in the holiness of the Pentateuch to the exclusion of other writings deemed holy by the Jews and included in the Hebrew Bible. Their center was Neapolis (Nablus), and they offered sacrifices not on the Temple Mount but on Mt. Gerizim, a few hundred still survive today.

Samaritan canon  A Samaritan Pentateuch exists which is another version of the Torah, in this case in the Samaritan alphabet. The relationship to the Masoretic Text and the Septuagint is still disputed. Scrolls among the Dead Sea scrolls have been identified as proto-Samaritan Pentateuch text-type. This text is associated with the Samaritans, a people of whom the Jewish Encyclopedia states: "Their history as a distinct community begins with the taking of Samaria by the Assyrians in 722 B.C."

The Samaritans accept the Torah but do not accept any other parts of the Bible, probably a position also held by the Sadducees. Moreover, they did not expand their Pentateuchal canon even by adding any Samaritan compositions.

Both texts from the Church Fathers and old Samaritan texts provide us with reasons for the limited extent of the Samaritan Canon. According to some of the information the Samaritans parted with the Jews (Judeans) at such an early date that only the books of Moses were considered holy; according to other sources the group intentionally rejected the Prophets and (possibly) the other Scriptures and entrenched themselves in the Law of Moses.

The small community of the remnants of the Samaritans in Palestine includes their version of the Torah in their canon The Samaritan community possesses a copy of the Torah that they believe to have been penned by Abisha, a grandson of Aaron

Samaritan Pentateuch  The Samaritan Pentateuch is a version of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible, also called the Torah or Law) that is used by the Samaritans.

Scholars consult the Samaritan Pentateuch when trying to determine the meaning of text of the original Pentateuch and to trace the development of text-families. Scrolls among the Dead Sea scrolls have been identified as proto-Samaritan Pentateuch text-type.

Samaritan practices are based on their version of the Five Books of Moses, which is slightly different than the Jewish or Christian texts. Some differences are minor, such as the ages of different people mentioned in bibliography, while others are major, such as the commandment to be monogamous which appears in the Samaritan text. (cf Lev 18:18)

Samuel  a leader of ancient Israel in the Book(s) of Samuel in the Hebrew Bible.

His status, as viewed by rabbinical literature, is that he was the last of the Hebrew Judges and the first of the major prophets who began to prophesy inside the Land of Israel. He was thus at the cusp between two eras.

According to the text of the Book(s) of Samuel, he also selected/anointed the first two kings of the Kingdom of Israel: King Saul and King David.

Sanhedrin  The Jewish council of state, with political and judicial functions, meeting under the presidency of the high priest. While still in debate, many scholars hold that there were two sanhedrins; the primarily Sadducaean political council (to which Josephus often refers) and the primarily Pharisaean Great Sanhedrin of seventy members, with religious and legislative functions, under rabbinic control.

Sarah   ("a woman of high rank") Sarah is the wife of Abraham as described in the Hebrew Bible (the Book of Genesis) and the Quran.

The Hebrew word sarah indicates a woman of high rank and is sometimes translated as "princess" or goddess, but it really means "high holy one". Semitic root Šarai or law. Like El has the sense power, authority, lord, deity, natural law, law

sata  a dry measure of capacity approximately equal to 13 liters or 1.5 pecks.

Satan  Satan means "accuser." This is one name for the devil, an enemy of God and God's people.

Saul   ("asked for") (reigned 1047 - 1007 BC)

Saul is identified in the Books of Samuel, 1 Chronicles and the Qur'an as the first king of the ancient United Kingdom of Israel and Judah. Saul reigned from Gibeah during the closing decades of the 2nd millennium BC. He died during a battle with the Philistines, when a part of his kingdom succumbed to Philistine control and occupation. The succession was contested by his surviving son Ish-bosheth and their common rival David. Saul's traditional biography in the Books of Samuel has been said by Biblical critics to reveal two main sources, independent of each other.

Savior   Written also saviour  to save

1. One who saves, preserves, or delivers from destruction or danger.

2. Specifically: The (or our, your, etc.) Savior, he who brings salvation to men; Jesus Christ, the Redeemer.

saviour  See Savior

scribe  A scribe is one who copies God's law. They were often respected as teachers and authorities on God's law.

scroll  A roll of parchment, papyrus, or other material containing written texts, with the sheets being sewn or otherwise fastened together one next to the other so as to facilitate the rolling up of the joined text. In biblical times, the Hebrew term sefer designated not a codex but a scroll, which preceded the codex throughout the Mediterranean world.

Second Coming   In Christianity, the Second Coming is the anticipated return of Jesus from Heaven to earth, an event to fulfill aspects of Messianic prophecy, such as the general resurrection of the dead, the last judgment of the dead and the living and the full establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth (also called the "Reign of God"), including the Messianic Age. Views about the nature of this return vary among Christian denominations. The original Greek of the New Testament uses the term parousia the "appearance and subsequent presence with" (in the ancient world referring to official visits by royalty). The Second Coming is also referred to as the Second Advent, from the Latin term "adventus", for "coming". Teachings about the last days comprise Christian eschatology.

Second Epistle of Peter   The Second Epistle of Peter is a book of the New Testament of the Bible, traditionally ascribed to Saint Peter, but in modern times widely regarded as pseudonymous.

According to the epistle itself, it was written by the apostle Peter, an eyewitness to Jesus' ministry. He criticizes "false teachers" who distort the authentic, apostolic tradition, and predicts judgement for them. He explains that God has delayed the Second Coming so that more people will have the chance to reject evil and find salvation. He calls on Christians to wait patiently for the parousia and to study scripture.

The dating of this epistle has proved very difficult. Commentaries and reference books have placed 2 Peter in almost every decade from 60 to 160AD

Second Temple Period   ca. 520 BCE - 70 CE

A time of crucial development for monotheistic religions; ended with the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE Period in which the Dead Sea Scrolls were composed, transcribed and/or copied. The period from the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple at Jerusalem to the victory of the Romans over the Jews during the First Revolt.

selah  Selah is a musical term indicating a pause or instrumental interlude for reflection.

Seleucid Empire  Created out of part of Macedonian Empire after the death of Alexander the Great (323 BCE) and, at its height, extended from the southern coast of modern Turkey south through Palestine and east to India's border; spanned the period 312 - 64 BCE


The term Semite means a member of any of various ancient and modern people originating in southwestern Asia, including Akkadians, Canaanites, Phoenicians, Hebrews, Arabs, and Ethiopian Semites. It was proposed at first to refer to the languages related to Hebrew by Ludwig Schlözer, in Eichhorn's "Repertorium", vol. VIII (Leipzig, 1781), p. 161. Through Eichhorn the name then came into general usage (cf. his "Einleitung in das Alte Testament" (Leipzig, 1787), I, p. 45. In his "Gesch. der neuen Sprachenkunde", pt. I (Göttingen, 1807) it had already become a fixed technical term.

The word "Semitic" is an adjective derived from Shem, one of the three sons of Noah in the Bible (Genesis 5.32, 6.10, 10.21), or more precisely from the Greek derivative of that name, namely (Se-m); the noun form referring to a person is Semite.

In linguistics and ethnology, Semitic was first used to refer to a language family of largely Middle Eastern origin, now called the Semitic languages. This family includes the ancient and modern forms of Akkadian, Amharic, Arabic, Aramaic, Ge'ez, Hebrew, Maltese, Phoenician, Tigre and Tigrinya among others.

As language studies are interwoven with cultural studies, the term also came to describe the extended cultures and ethnicities, as well as the history of these varied peoples as associated by close geographic and linguistic distribution.

Semitic languages  The Semitic languages are a group of related languages whose living representatives are spoken by more than 467 million people across much of the Middle East, North Africa and the Horn of Africa. They constitute a branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family, the only branch of that family to be spoken not only in Africa but also in Asia.

The most widely spoken Semitic language today is Arabic (322 million native speakers, approx 422 million total speakers). It is followed by Amharic (27 million), Tigrinya (about 6.7 million),and Hebrew (about 5 million).

Semitic languages are attested in written form from a very early date, with texts in Eblaite and Akkadian appearing from around the middle of the third millennium BC, written in a script adapted from Sumerian cuneiform. The other scripts used to write Semitic languages are alphabetic. Among them are the Ugaritic, Phoenician, Aramaic, Syriac, Arabic, South Arabian, and Ge'ez alphabets. Maltese is the only Semitic language to be written in the Latin alphabet. It is also the only official Semitic language within the European Union.

The term "Semitic" for these languages, after Shem, the son of Noah in the Bible, is etymologically a misnomer in some ways (see Semitic), but is nonetheless in standard use.

Serpent (symbolism)

Serpent is a word of Latin origin (from serpens, serpentis "something that creeps, snake") that is commonly used in a specifically mythic or religious context, signifying a snake that is to be regarded not as a mundane natural phenomenon nor as an object of scientific zoology, but as the bearer of some symbolic value.

1.)  In the Hebrew Bible (the Tanach) of Judaism, the serpent in the Garden of Eden lured Eve with the promise of forbidden knowledge, and denying her mortality would be a result. Though not initially identified with Satan (adversary) in the Book of Genesis, the serpent is later cursed as an adversary of Eve's offspring. "Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made," Genesis 3:1 reminded its readers. "Cunning" is a sound-alike pun on the word for "Naked." Nor is there any indication in Genesis that the Serpent was a deity in its own right, aside from the fact that there are only two cases of animals that talk in the Pentateuch. (Balaams` ass being the other) Although the identity of the Serpent as Satan is made explicit the Christian Book of Revelation, in Genesis the Serpent is merely portrayed as a deceptive creature or trickster, promoting as good what God had directly forbidden, and particularly cunning in its deception. (cf. Gen. 3:4-5 and 3:22)

2.)  The staff of Moses transformed into a snake and then back into a staff; according to Islamic, Christian, and Jewish hagiography.

3.)  Book of Numbers 21:6-9 provides an origin for an archaic bronze serpent associated with Moses.

4.)  In Christianity, a connection between the Serpent and Satan is strongly made, and Genesis 3:14 where God curses the serpent, is seen in that light: "And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life". Some feel that this seems to indicate that the serpent had legs prior to this punishment. But if the lying serpent was in fact Satan himself (as he is called THE serpent or dragon), rather than an ordinary snake simply possessed by Satan, then the reference to crawling and dust is purely symbolic reference to his ultimate humiliation and defeat.

5.) The other most significant reference to the serpent in the New Testament occurs in Revelation 20:2, where the identity of the serpent in Genesis is made explicit:

    "The great dragon was hurled down -- that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray..."

This verse lends support to the view that of the serpent being Satan himself, which helps to explain, as well, why Eve was not surprised to be spoken to by the serpent -- it was not a talking snake, but a beautiful and intelligent (yet evil) angelic being.

Septuagint    A Greek version of the Hebrew Scriptures that dates from the 3rd century B.C., containing both a translation of the Hebrew and additional and variant material, regarded as the standard form of the Old Testament in the early Christian Church and still canonical in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

[Latin septua-ginta-, seventy (from the traditional number of its translators) : septem, seven + -ginta-, ten times.]

Seth  ("Placed; appointed")

 in the Book of Genesis of the Hebrew Bible, is the third listed son of Adam and Eve and brother of Cain and Abel and is the only other son mentioned by name. According to Genesis 4:25, Seth was born after the slaying of Abel by Cain, and Eve believed God had appointed him as "replacement" for Abel "because Cain killed him."

sexual immorality  The term "sexual immorality" in the New Testament comes from the Greek "porneia," which refers to any sexual activity besides that between a husband and his wife. In other words, prostitution (male or female), bestiality, homosexual activity, any sexual intercourse outside of marriage, and the production and consumption of pornography all are included in this term.

Shabbat  Day of rest. It is observed every week from before sunset on Friday until nightfall on Saturday. According to tradition, the Sabbath is celebrated to honour God's day of rest after creation. It is inexorably tied to the “seventh day” in the Torah where God rested after creating the earth. Observance of Shabbat is observance of that day of rest, among other things.

Its observance was commanded by God in one version of the Ten Commandments to commemorate the Exodus from Egypt. No work should take place on the Sabbath; rabbinic legislation stipulates 39 categories of activity which are forbidden. However, these regulations should be set aside if human life is in danger. The Sabbath day should be an occasion for prayer and study. Readings in the Synagogue are drawn from the Torah and the prophetic books. The day ends with Havdalah.  

shekel  A measure of weight, and when referring to that weight in gold, silver, or brass, of money. A shekel is approximately 16 grams, about a half an ounce, or 20 gerahs (Ezekiel 45:12).

Sheol  Sheol is the place of the dead.

Shem ("renown; prosperity; name")

Shem was one of the sons of Noah in the Bible. He is most popularly regarded as the eldest son, though some traditions regard him as the second son. Genesis 10:21 refers to relative ages of Shem and his brother Japheth, but with sufficient ambiguity in each to have yielded different translations. The verse is translated in the KJV as "Unto Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the brother of Japheth the elder, even to him were children born.". However, the New American Standard Bible gives, "Also to Shem, the father of all the children of Eber, and the older brother of Japheth, children were born."

Genesis 11:10 records that Shem was 100 years old at the birth of Arpachshad two years after the flood, making him 98 at the time of the flood; and that he lived for another 500 years after this, making his age at death 600 years.

The children of Shem were Elam, Asshur, Aram, Arpachshad and Lud, in addition to daughters. Abraham, the patriarch of the Hebrews and Arabs, was one of the descendants of Arpachshad.

The 1st century historian Flavius Josephus, among many others, recounted the tradition that these five sons were the progenitors of the nations of Elam, Assyria, Syria, Chaldea (from whom descended the Hebrews and Arabs), and Lydia, respectively.

Terms like "Semite" and "Hamite" are less common now, and may sometimes even be perceived as offensive, because of their "racial" connotations. The adjectival forms "Semitic" and "Hamitic" are more common, though the vague term 'Hamitic' dropped out of mainstream academic use in the 1960s. Semitic is still a commonly used term for the Semitic languages, as a subset of the Afro-Asiatic languages, denoting the common linguistic heritage of Arabic, Aramaic, Akkadian, Ethiopic, Hebrew and Phoenician languages.

'Semitic' also appears in the phrase "anti-Semitic" to refer to racial, ethnic or cultural prejudice aimed exclusively at Jews.

According to some Jewish traditions (e.g., B. Talmud Nedarim 32b; Genesis Rabbah 46:7; Genesis Rabbah 56:10; Leviticus Rabbah 25:6; Numbers Rabbah 4:8.), Shem is believed to have been Melchizedek, King of Salem whom Abraham is recorded to have met after the battle of the four kings. Other legends say that he opened a religious academy, and, due to his long life, even his very-distant descendents who kept the belief in God, like Jacob, were able to attend it.

In a few of the many extra-biblical sources that describe him, Shem is also credited with killing Nimrod, son of Cush.

Shem is mentioned in Genesis 5:32, 6:10; 7:13; 9:18,23,26-27; 10; 11:10; also in 1 Chronicles 1:4.

Shibah  Shibah is Hebrew for "oath" or "seven." See Beersheba.

shigionoth  Victorious music.

Sicarii  The assassins or "daggermen" lead by Menahem b. Jair, Eliezer b. Jair, and Simeon bar Giora, who took the leading role in the First Revolt against Roman rule. It remains a matter of debate whether or not they were a cadre recruited from among the Zealots.

sodomite   One who engages in sodomy  

a word derived from the biblical town of sodom, heavily laden with connotations of homosexual immorality.

In its original context the word referred to any form of sexual activity not including heterosexual vaginal intercourse. it thus included masturbation and any form of oral sex, whether heterosexual or homosexual. however, judeo-christian moralists co-opted the term as part of their long standing persecution and demonisation of homosexuality, and, rightly or wrongly, the term has now come to refer almost exclusively to gay anal sex.

sodomy  Any of various forms of sexual intercourse held to be unnatural or abnormal, especially anal intercourse or bestiality.

Sons of Noah 

The table of nations in Genesis 10 begins by listing Noah's immediate children:

Ham, forefather of the southern peoples (Hamitic Africa)
Shem, forefather of the middle peoples (Semitic)
Japheth, forefather of the northern peoples (Japhetic Eurasia)

A literal interpretation of Genesis 10 suggests that the present population of the world was descended from Noah's three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and their wives. Until the mid-19th century, this was taken by many as historical fact. They are still taken as historical by many Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and some Christians.

There are disputes as to how many of the peoples of the Earth it was intended to cover, and as to its accuracy.

Many Jews, Christians, and Muslims, retain the belief that the table applies to the entire people of earth.

In the Biblical view, the listed children of Japheth, Shem and Ham correspond to various historic nations and peoples. In the typical interpretation, these sons of Noah correspond to three races: Europeans, Semites, and Africans. Others read it as a guide only to local ethnic groups.

Secular scholarship rejects this traditional view of historicity, and holds instead that the genealogy is merely a traditional one, aimed at explaining the relations between the ethnic groups of the ancient Near East, perhaps re-edited at the time of the text's final composition in the 7th century BC.

soul  "Soul" refers to the emotions and intellect of a living person, as well as that person's very life. It is distinguished in the Bible from a person's spirit and body. (1 Thessalonians 5:23, Hebrews 4:12)

span  The length from the tip of the thumb to the tip of the little finger when the hand is stretched out (about 9 inches or 22.8 cm.).

spirit  Spirit, breath, and wind all derive from the same Hebrew and Greek words. A person's spirit is the very essence of that person's life, which comes from God, who is a Spirit being (John 4:24, Genesis 1:2; 2:7). The Bible distinguishes between a person's spirit, soul, and body (1 Thessalonians 5:23, Hebrews 4:12)). Some beings may exist as spirits without necessarily having a visible body, such as angels and demons (Luke 9:39, 1 John 4:1-3).

stadia  stadia: plural for "stadion," a linear measure of about 184.9 meters or 606.6 feet (the length of the race course at Olympia).

Star of David  The Star of David or Shield of David is a generally recognized symbol of Jewish identity and Judaism. It is named after King David of ancient Israel; and its earliest known communal usage began in the Middle Ages, alongside the more ancient symbol of the menorah. Geometrically it is the hexagram.

With the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 the Star of David on the Flag of Israel has also become a symbol of Israel and has become associated with the Zionist movement.

stater  A stater is a Greek silver coin equivalent to four Attic or two Alexandrian drachmas, or a Jewish shekel: just exactly enough to cover the half-shekel Temple Tax for two people.

Stone Age  The Stone Age is a broad prehistoric time period during which humans widely used stone for toolmaking.

Stone tools were made from a variety of different kinds of stone. For example, flint and chert were shaped (or chipped) for use as cutting tools and weapons, while basalt and sandstone were used for ground stone tools, such as quern-stones. Wood, bone, shell, antler and other materials were widely used, as well. During the most recent part of the period, sediments (like clay) were used to make pottery. A series of metal technology innovations characterize the later Chalcolithic (Copper Age), Bronze Age and Iron Age.

The period encompasses the first widespread use of technology in human evolution and the spread of humanity from the savannas of East Africa to the rest of the world. It ends with the development of agriculture, the domestication of certain animals and the smelting of copper ore to produce metal. It is termed prehistoric, since humanity had not yet started writing -- the traditional start of history (i.e., recorded history).

The term "Stone Age" was used by archaeologists to designate this vast pre-metallurgic period whose stone tools survived far more widely than tools made from other (softer) materials. It is the first age in the three-age system. A division of the Stone Age into an older and younger part was first proposed by Jens Jacob Worsaae in 1859 through his work with Danish kitchen middens that began in 1851. The subdivision into the Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic periods that still is in use today, was made by John Lubbock in his now classic 1865 book Pre-historic Times. These three periods are further subdivided. In reality, the succession of phases differs enormously from one region (and culture) to another, indeed, humanity continued to expand into new areas even during the metal ages. Therefore, it is better to speak of a Stone Age, instead of the Stone Age. As a description of people living today, the term stone age is controversial. The Association of Social Anthropologists discourages this use.

Synoptic Gospels  The first three Gospels, i.e., Matthew, Mark and Luke-so called because of the similarity of their contents, statements, and order. The Acts of the Apostles is also attributed to Luke, usually acknowledged to be the same Luke who composed the Gospel. Like the Gospel it was also written in Greek and addressed to the same recipient. Sometimes Acts is referred to as the second half of the Gospel according to Luke, though it is not usually referred to as one of the Synoptic Gospels.


tabernacle  a dwelling place or place of worship, usually a tent.

Table of Nations  The Table of Nations or Sons of Noah is an extensive list of descendants of Noah appearing within the Torah at Genesis 10, representing an ethnology from an Iron Age Levantine perspective and its reflections in the medieval and modern history and genealogy researches.

It then proceeds to detail their descendants.

The first generation of descendants is given as:

  • The sons of Japheth: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech and Tiras.

  • The sons of Ham: Cush, Mizraim, Put, and Canaan.

  • The sons of Shem: Elam, Asshur, Arpachshad, Lud and Aram.

The identification of several of the first generation is aided by the inclusion of the second, although several of their identifications are less certain. (The copy of the table in the biblical book of 1 Chronicles chapter 1 has occasional variations in the second generation, most likely caused by the similarity of Hebrew letters such as Resh and Daleth). Forms ending in -im are plurals, probably indicating names of peoples, and not intended as the name of a single person.

Talmud  (Babylonian; Palestinian) The authoritative body of Rabbinic Judaism, consisting of the Hebrew Mishnah and Aramaic Gemara or commentary. The Babylonian Talmud, eventually considered to be the most authoritative of the two Talmuds, consists of the Mishnah and commentary by rabbinic teachers mainly of Babylonia; the Palestinian (or Jerusalem) Talmud consists of the Mishnah and commentary mainly by Palestinian rabbinic teachers. Developed during the first to the fifth centuries CE

talent  A measure of weight or mass of 3000 shekels.

Tanach  See Tanakh

Tannaitic  Referring to the Tannaim (tannaites), or early generations of rabbinic teachers. The actual period of rabbinic Judaism is generally held to span the period from 70 CE to about 220 CE, the traditional time of compilation of the Mishnah.

Tanakh    Also spelled Tanach

A term used among Jews for the Hebrew Bible; the Old Testament.
Note: Although Christians use the term ''Old Testament'', this term implies the superseding force of the ''New Testament'', not recognized as revelation by the Jewish faith. [PJC]

The Jewish scriptures or The sacred book of Judaism, consisting of the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings; the Hebrew Scriptures.

 The Tanakh consists of 24 books. Tanakh is an acronym for the three parts of the Hebrew Bible:

(1) The Torah, ''Law,'' or Pentateuch.
(2) Nevi'im (Prophets)
(3) The Kethubim or Ketuvim, or the ''Writings,'' generally termed {Hagiographa}.

The Tanakh is used commonly by Jews but unfamiliar to many English speakers and others (Alexander 1999, p. 17). (See Table of books of Judeo-Christian Scripture).

The Tanakh was mainly written in Biblical Hebrew, with some portions (notably in Daniel and Ezra) in Biblical Aramaic.

Tartarus  Tartarus is the Greek name for an underworld for the wicked dead; another name for Gehenna or Hell.

Ten Commandments   The ten injunctions given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai, serving as the basis of Mosaic Law.

List of religious precepts sacred in Judaism and Christianity. They include injunctions to honour God, the Sabbath, and one's parents, as well as bans on idolatry, blasphemy, murder, adultery, theft, false witness, and covetousness. In the book of Exodus, they are divinely revealed to Moses on Mount Sinai and engraved on two stone tablets. Most scholars propose a date between the 16th and 13th century BC for the commandments, though some date them as late as 750 BC. They were not regarded with deep reverence by Christians until the 13th century.

The commandments spoken by God from the top of Mount Sinai and addressed to the Children of Israel seven weeks after the Exodus from Egypt. Subsequently, they were inscribed by God upon the two stone Tablets of the Covenant and given to Moses to be placed in the Ark of the Covenant in the Sanctuary and later in the Temple built by Solomon. According to the Bible, the Ten Commandments are the terms of the Covenant between God and the Israelites at Sinai (Ex. 34:27-28). To impress upon them the unique and profound importance of this Revelation of God's commands, the Israelites were told to prepare themselves by sanctifying themselves, cleansing themselves and their garments, and refraining from sexual intercourse.

teraphim  Teraphim are household idols that may have been associated with inheritance rights to the household property.

terminus a quo  The earliest possible date for a manuscript, event, etc.

terminus ad quem  The date after which an event, etc. could not have occurred.

tetradrachms  Ancient Greek silver coins.

Tetragrammaton  The four Hebrew letters that represent the divine name of God, usually transliterated YHWH or JHVH in many parts of the Bible. The name was regarded as too holy to be pronounced and out of reverence, Jews ceased to pronounce the word aloud about the third century BCE. It was vocalized in mediaeval manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible with the vowels of the Hebrew word Adonai, an epithet signifying "God."

tetrarch  A Greek term originally meaning the ruler of a quarter of a piece of territory, but by the first century BCE meaning a dependent prince of fairly low rank and status.

The Curse of Ham   See Curse of Ham

Three age system
Three-age system 

The three-age system is the periodization of human prehistory into three consecutive time periods, named for their respective predominant tool-making technologies:

The system is most apt in describing the progression of European and Mediterranean societies, although it has been used to describe other histories as well. The system has been criticised for being too technologically determinist.


The term "Torah" (Hebrew: "teaching" or "instruction," sometimes translated as "Law,"), or Five Books of Moses or Pentateuch, refers to the entirety of Judaism's founding legal and ethical religious texts. When used with an indefinite article, "a Torah" usually refers to a "Sefer Torah" ("book of Torah") or Torah scroll, written on parchment in a formal, traditional manner by a specially trained scribe under very strict requirements.

The Torah is the most holy of the sacred writings in Judaism

Torah, known as The Written Law, consists of the books of the Hebrew Bible, the Tanakh. The term "Bible" is more commonly used by non-Jews, as are the terms "Old Testament" and "New Testament." The appropriate term for Jews to use for the Hebrew Bible is "Tanakh." Tanakh is an acronym for Torah, Nevi'im (Prophets) and Ketuvim (Writings).

The Torah is also known as the Chumash, Pentateuch or Five Books of Moses.

Bereshit - Genesis
Shemot - Exodus
Vayikra - Leviticus
Bamidbar - Numbers
Devarim - Deuteronomy

The word "Torah" has the following meanings: 

1. A scroll made from kosher animal parchment, with the entire text of the Five Books of Moses written in it by a sofer [ritual scribe]. This is the most limited definition.

2. More often, this term means the text of the Five Books of Moses, written in any format, whether Torah scroll, paperback book, CDROM, skywriting or any other media. Any printed version of the Torah (with or without commentary) can be called a Chumash or Pentateuch; however, one never refers to a Torah Scroll as a Chumash.

3. The term "Torah" can mean the entire corpus of Jewish law. This includes the Written and the Oral Law, which includes the Mishna, the Midrash, the Talmud and even later day legal commentaries. This definition of Torah is probably the most common among Orthodox Jews.

Torah literally means instruction, and does not mean law (as others have come to define as). For the word law, the Hebrew word khoq, literally law or decree, is the correct word for translation.

[Hebrew tôrâ, law, instruction, from hôrâ, to throw, direct, teach, derived stem of ya-râ, to throw, shoot.]

The Torah of Judaism   According to some Jews during the Hellenistic period, such as the Sadducees only a minimal oral tradition of interpreting the words of the Torah existed, which did not extend into extended biblical interpretation. They argued against the Rabbis in mostly legal matters, threatening the very existence of Judaism. According to the Pharisees, however, God revealed both a Written Torah and an Oral Torah to Moses, the Oral Torah consisting of both stories and legal traditions. In Rabbinic Judaism, the Oral Torah is essential for understanding the Written Torah literally (as it includes neither vowels nor punctuation) and exegetically. Much of the Oral Torah has since been committed to writing in various forms, including the Halacha, the Aggadah, and the Kabbalah. Other writings also generally considered to be part of the Oral Torah appear in the Mishnah, the Tosefta, the Sifre, the Sifra, the Mechilta, and both the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds as well.

Orthodox Judaism continues to accept the Oral Torah in its totality. Masorti and Conservative Judaism state that the Oral Tradition is to some degree divinely inspired, but disregard its legal elements in varying degrees. Reform Judaism also gives some credence to the Talmud containing the legal elements of the Oral Torah, but, as with the written Torah, asserts that both were inspired by, but not dictated by, God. Reconstructionist Judaism denies any connection of the Torah, Written or Oral, with God.

Tower of Babel   according to chapter 11 of the Book of Genesis, was an enormous tower intended as the crowning achievement of the city of Babilu, the Akkadian name for Babylon. According to the biblical account, Babel was a city that united humanity, all speaking a single language and migrating from the east; it was the home city of the great king Nimrod, and the first city to be built after the Great Flood. The people decided their city should have a tower so immense that it would have "its top in the heavens. However, the Tower of Babel was not built for the worship and praise of God, but was dedicated to the glory of man, with a motive of making a 'name' for the builders: "Then they said, 'Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves; otherwise we shall be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.'" (Genesis 11:4). God, seeing what the people were doing, gave each person a different language to confuse them and scattered the people throughout the earth.

Babel is the Hebrew equivalent of Akkadian Babilu (Greek Babylon), a cosmopolitan city typified by a confusion of languages. The Tower of Babel has often been associated with known structures, notably the Etemenanki, the ziggurat to Marduk, by Nabopolassar (610s BC). A Sumerian story with some similar elements is preserved in Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta.

Transfiguration  The Transfiguration of Jesus is an event reported by the Synoptic Gospels in which Jesus is transfigured upon a mountain (Matthew 17:1-9, Mark 9:2-8, Luke 9:28-36). Jesus becomes radiant, speaks with Moses and Elijah, and is called "Son" by God. The transfiguration put Jesus above Moses and Elijah, the two preeminent figures of Judaism. It also supports his identity as the Son of God. In keeping with the Messianic secret, Jesus tells the witnesses (Saint Peter, James, son of Zebedee and John the Apostle) not to tell others what they saw until He has risen on the third day after his death on the cross.

The principal account is that in the Synoptic Gospels; 2 Peter and the Gospel of John may also briefly allude to the event (2 Peter 1:16-18, John 1:14).[citation needed] Peter describes himself as an eyewitness "of his sovereign majesty." None of the accounts identifies the "high mountain" of the scene by name. The earliest identification of the mountain as Mount Tabor is in the 5th century Transitus Beatae Mariae Virginis. RT France notes that Mount Hermon is closest to Caesarea Philippi, mentioned in the previous chapter of Matthew.

Trinity     the union of the Father and Son and Holy Ghost in one Godhead

The Trinity is a Christian doctrine, stating that God exists as three persons, or in the Greek hypostases, but is one being. In other words he is the Triune God. The persons are understood to exist as God the Father, God the Son (incarnate as Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit, each of them having the one identical essence or nature, not merely similar natures. Since the beginning of the third century the doctrine of the Trinity has been stated as "the one God exists in three Persons and one substance, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit." Trinitarianism, belief in the Trinity, is a mark of Oriental and Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism and all the mainstream traditions arising from the Protestant Reformation, such as Anglicanism, Lutheranism and Presbyterianism. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church describes the Trinity as "the central dogma of Christian theology".

This doctrine is in contrast to Nontrinitarian positions which include Binitarianism (one deity/two persons), Unitarianism (one deity/one person), the Oneness belief held by certain Pentecostal groups, Modalism, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' view of the Godhead as three separate beings who are one in purpose rather than essence.

The doctrine of the Trinity was of particular importance historically. The conflict with Arianism and other competing theological concepts during the fourth century became the first major doctrinal confrontation in Church history. It had a particularly lasting effect within the Western Roman Empire where the Germanic Arians and the Nicene Christians formed segregated social orders.

Though the word trinity, like other terms, such as monotheism, that express concepts fundamental to Christianity, is not found in either the Old Testament or the New Testament, the doctrine developed from the biblical language used in New Testament passages such as the baptismal formula in Matthew 28:19.

Twelve Apostles  (Ancient Greek:  "someone sent out", e.g. with a message or as a delegate)

The Twelve Apostles or Twelve Disciples were, according to the Synoptic Gospels (i.e., the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke) and Christian tradition, disciples (followers) whom Jesus of Nazareth had chosen, named, and trained in order to send them on a specific mission, the establishment of the Christian Church by evangelism, the spreading of the "good news", after being sent the Holy Spirit as "helper" (paraclete) in this task at Pentecost.

After the Apostle Judas Iscariot had betrayed Jesus, the remaining Apostles under the leadership of Simon Peter filled the vacancy by electing by lot Matthias, a companion of theirs ever since they themselves had followed Jesus, so that by the time of the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost they actually numbered twelve again.

unicum  A unique thing; esp., a text that exists only in a single manuscript without necessarily being the author's own autograph.

Upper Egypt  See Upper Egypt

Upper and Lower Egypt  Ancient Egypt was divided into two regions, known as Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt.

To the north was Lower Egypt where the Nile stretched out with its several branches to form the Nile Delta. To the south was Upper Egypt, stretching to Syene. The two kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt were united c. 3000 BC, but each maintained its own regalia. Thus, the pharaohs were known as the rulers of the Two Kingdoms, and wore the pschent, a double crown, each half representing sovereignty of one of the kingdoms.

While the labelling of "Upper" and "Lower" might seem counterintuitive, with Upper Egypt in the south and Lower Egypt in the north on modern maps, the terminology derives from the flow of the Nile from the highlands of East Africa (upstream) to the Mediterranean Sea (downstream).

There were a number of differences between Upper and Lower Egyptians in the ancient world. They spoke different dialects and had different customs. Many of these differences, and the occasional tensions they created, still exist in modern times.


Virgin Mary   See Blessed Virgin Mary

Vulgate  The Vulgate is an early Fifth Century version of the Bible in Latin, and largely the result of the labours of Jerome, who was commissioned by Pope Damasus I in 382 to make a revision of old Latin translations. It became the definitive and officially promulgated Latin version of the Bible of the Roman Catholic Church. In the 13th century it came to be called versio vulgata, which means "common translation". There are 76 books in the Clementine edition of the Vulgate Bible: 46 in the Old Testament, 27 in the New Testament, and three in the Apocrypha.

Widow's Mite:

The smallest coins in circulation in Judea at the time of Christ were tiny bronze affairs that had been struck by the Maccabean or Hashmonean kings a century before.

These come in several varieties. One common one has the Hebrew inscription "Yahonatan the High Priest and the Council of the Jews" within a wreath on the front and a cornucopia adorned with ribbons on the back.

The lepton or half-prutah was an inconsequential amount of money. It took 32 of them to buy a loaf of bread.



Yah  "Yah" is a shortened form of "Yahweh," which is God's proper name. This form is used occasionally in the Old Testament, mostly in the Psalms. See "Yahweh."

Yahweh  "Yahweh" is God's proper name. In Hebrew, the four consonants roughly equivalent to YHWH were considered too holy to pronounce, so the Hebrew word for "Lord" (Adonai) was substituted when reading it aloud. When vowel points were added to the Hebrew Old Testament, the vowel points for "Adonai" were mixed with the consonants for "Yahweh," which if you pronounced it literally as written, would be pronounced "Yehovah" or "Jehovah." When the Old Testament was translated to Greek, the tradition of substituting "Lord" for God's proper name continued in the translation of God's name to "Lord" (Kurios). Some English Bibles translate God's proper name to "LORD" or "GOD" (usually with small capital letters), based on that same tradition. This can get really confusing, since two other words ("Adonai" and "Elohim") translate to "Lord" and "God," and they are sometimes used together. The ASV of 1901 (and some other translations) render YHWH as "Jehovah." The most probable pronunciation of God's proper name is "Yahweh." In Hebrew, the name "Yahweh" is related to the active declaration "I AM." See Exodus 3:13-14. Since Hebrew has no tenses, the declaration "I AM" can also be interpreted as "I WAS" and "I WILL BE." Compare Revelation 1:8

Yehoshua  See Joshua

Yhwh   Jehovah, one of the names of God, the Tetragrammaton (Judaism)

Yoktan  See Joktan


Zadok  righteous 

a priest at the time of David and Solomon. I Sam. 15:34–37; I Kings 1:7, 8.

(1.) A son of Ahitub, of the line of Eleazer (2 Sam. 8:17; 1 Chr. 24:3), high priest in the time of David (2 Sam. 20:25) and Solomon (1 Kings 4:4). He is first mentioned as coming to take part with David at Hebron (1 Chr. 12:27, 28). He was probably on this account made ruler over the Aaronites (27:17). Zadok and Abiathar acted as high priests on several important occasions (1 Chr. 15:11; 2 Sam. 15:24-29, 35, 36); but when Adonijah endeavoured to secure the throne, Abiathar went with him, and therefore Solomon "thrust him out from being high priest," and Zadok, remaining faithful to David, became high priest alone (1 Kings 2:27, 35; 1 Chr. 29:22). In him the line of Phinehas resumed the dignity, and held it till the fall of Jerusalem. He was succeeded in his sacred office by his son Azariah (1 Kings 4:2; comp. 1 Chr. 6:3-9).

(2.) The father of Jerusha, who was wife of King Uzziah, and mother of King Jotham (2 Kings 15:33; 2 Chr. 27:1). (3.) "The scribe" set over the treasuries of the temple by Nehemiah along with a priest and a Levite (Neh. 13:13). (4.) The sons of Baana, one of those who assisted in rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem (Neh. 3:4).

Zadokite  A descendant of Zadok, from whose lineage the High Priests of Judah had been selected since the time of King Solomon. The Zadokites were deposed by Antiochus Epiphanes in exchange for a bribe. The Hasmonaeans, who later assumed the High Priesthood, were not of the Zadokite line, and were therefore (in the opinion of some) unqualified to assume the office.

Zealots  Not so much a religious sect, according to conventional interpretations,as adherents of a political and military movement, who were the prime instigators of the First Revolt. Josephus seems to regard the Zealots as a well-defined group that came into existence during the revolt; however, there is evidence that the term (which primarily means "one zealous for the Law of the Lord") may have widely used before and even after the Revolt for any who violently opposed Roman rule. The sicarii, who may have been recruited from among the zealots, were the defenders of Masada, who in 74 CE committed mass suicide rather than be taken alive by the attacking Roman army. Noted examples are Simon the Zealot, one of the twelve Apostles and possibly even Judas Iscariot, whose name may derive from the Sicarii.

Zebedee  ("the gift of God"; Zebedaios)  In the Bible, Zebedee was a Hebrew fisherman, the husband of Salome, and the father of James and John, two of the Apostles of Jesus

Zoroaster   Persian religious leader (also called Zarathustra), lived ca. 600 BCE. founded Zoroastrianism, a religion whose central belief is the eternal struggle between Good and Evil, or Truth and Falsehood.


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